Air pollution is one of the environmental influences that degrade cultural heritage objects situated indoors. Other essential influences, such as temperature, relative humidity, and light are often well monitored. The presence of air pollutants is less often measured or included in risk assessment. The MEMORI® technology presented in this paper was developed as a tool for easy measurement and assessment of the general risk of degradation of heritage objects situated indoors due to indoor exposure to air pollutants. MEMORI dosimetry was performed in locations belonging to English Heritage and Tate (both located in London) and the National Archives of Norway in Oslo, to assess air quality. The related damage risk for collection objects and the protection offered by display and storage designs was assessed. A high level of acidic effect was observed inside a number of showcases, and a high level of oxidizing effect was observed in some room locations. Relatively simple mitigation measures, such as constructing tightly sealed showcases using low emitting materials, installing active carbon absorbing media inside a ‘microclimate’ frame, and using cardboard storage boxes for paper, significantly improved air quality. Overall, implementation of such measures is likely to improve the preservation of objects and reduce conservation costs.
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Studies in Conservation
Taylor and Francis