Allowable microclimatic variations for painted wood

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Bratasz, Lukasz;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 58, Number 2, p.65-79 (2013)


Environmental standards for cultural heritage collections have been much debated in recent years. The interest in the issue has been driven by the growing movement towards green museums, that is, managing indoor museum environments in a responsible and efficient manner, especially in terms of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions but at the same time maintaining high standards of collection care. Painted wood is among the category of heritage objects most vulnerable to relative humidity and temperature fluctuations. Therefore, scientific understanding of how changes in environmental conditions ultimately affect painted wood is crucial to the development of rational guidelines for the control of climate in museums and historic buildings. This review provides a systematic progression through two fundamental approaches to establish the allowable ranges of climatic variations ‐ an analysis of the mechanical response of painted wood as a complex, multilayer system to climate variations, and an analysis of the historic climate to which the objects have acclimatized. The climate specifications and standards based on both these approaches are reviewed.