Moisture in a museum or archives can cause deterioration of paper-based materials, rusting on metal objects, and tarnishing of silver.
As a result, dehumidifiers are also used to control the relative humidity in a museum or archives.
This article will explore dehumidifiers used to maintain or protect these important buildings.
Moisture Control in Archives and Museums
Some questions arise if there are dehumidifiers used in museum and archive room(s). The relative humidity level in this place must be controlled to preserve valuable items.
The High RH can exert pressure on the material, causing them to bend and/or stick together. This can lead to tearing of paper-based materials, rusting of metal objects, and tarnishing of silver coins.
The Low RH can cause the embrittlement of paper, leather, textiles, and other organic materials.
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Two Main Sources of Moisture
1. Humidity Environment of Surrounding Air
If the exterior RH level is higher than inside, then moisture will transfer from the outside, leading to a higher internal RH.
The opposite is true if the exterior RH level is lower than the inside, then the transfer of moisture will result in a lower internal RH. This can dramatically influence an archive or museum's RH.
2. Humidity Caused by People
By exhaling, people release water vapor, which will have the same effects on the RH level as an overly humid environment.
Therefore, humidity control must include reducing indoor moisture from people by minimizing water vapor released through breathing and perspiration.
Effect of Poor Humidity Levels
Humidity detection helps us avoid damage to materials. This may involve mold or fungus growth on hardwood, fabrics, bones, and papers. It could also result in corrosion or rusting on polished surfaces.
There are different levels of humidity for different products. Each material is assigned a band. To control the humidity, put materials in the same space that have the same band and control them so they stay between those bands.
Dehumidifiers as Preservation for Museums
Museums, art galleries, and archives are all the same. They protect artifacts for the future. It doesn't matter what kind of artifact it is-whether it is paper or canvas or something else.
These collections are often stored in places that suffer from high relative humidity, so control on this and moisture is critical to preservation. It’s an area where there is particular expertise.
The museum collections must be properly cared for and preserved for the benefit of the visiting public, academic study, and general preservation.
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Preserving Museum Collections (Using Dehumidifiers)
It's difficult to keep the proper weather for museum collections. Many museum collections, art galleries, and collecting facilities have expensive air conditioning acoustic units in place to manage humidity.
Alternate methods to preserve art may be used by some conservators. Dehumidifiers are available, ranging from industrial-grade machines to tiny portable devices suited for keeping RH levels in greater spaces.
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Right Dehumidifier for Museum
A critical factor to consider is if large artifacts such as bulk cargo items should be protected from condensation, which could cause deterioration. If that's the case, then a commercial solution must be used.
If there are small or medium-sized objects that need protection, then a portable dehumidifier with small sediments and an adjustable humidistat is best.
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Library & Museum Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers are not used to absorb moisture from the air but rather the process of evaporation by lowering humidity on an active basis is applied.
This can work in a closed library and museum so that no humid air is released back into the environment at all. The moist air will be condensed and collected on a water trap that is then drained outside.
Art Galleries and Museum Conservation
The preventive process means getting rid of things that can limit the life of your collections. Check to make sure you are storing your objects correctly so they won't deteriorate.
Scientific evidence and some studies show that some things can help with museum objects. They can use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity. It helps maintain the quality of museum preservation.
A museum or any storage conditions facility that has a humidity level above 50% will increase the chances of having long-term damage to collection materials.
Museums and libraries should aim for a humidity level of 40-45%. In humid and tropical climates require particular environmental conditions, especially below the ambient dewpoint.
Archival Preservation (Using Dehumidifiers)
The key to archival preservation is using desiccant dehumidifiers and refrigeration. This keeps the moisture level low, which makes it hard for microbes to grow.
It shall often suffice for the conservation of some materials without the necessary temperature control for the preservation of the invaluable treasures.
Archival Document Storage
It may have different requirements depending on the item being stored. A simple rule of thumb is that the lower the temperature, the longer an archival document will last.
If you have items that are more sensitive to cold temperatures, then a lower temperature should be used whereas documents that can withstand higher temperatures can go up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Refrigeration alone cannot keep the humidity levels low and stable. You need to use a desiccant dehumidifier as well. This will keep the humidity level low and stop decay from microbes and mold.
Dry Air for Archives and Storage Rooms
To have good air quality in the warehouse, it is heated. This makes the humidity lower and improves the product quality. The cost of running a warmed warehouse is usually high.
Dehumidification is a good thing because it keeps the space safe and dry. It may cost a little more, but it is worth it. You can store many different types of items in the space as long as they are not damaged by high humidity levels.
Solutions for the Preservation of Archives Industry
Most materials will not be affected by humidity levels below 25%. A drying atmosphere obtained from a desiccant will not contribute to this. Dehumidification is good for saving energy as it can save up to 80% of your energy.
Heating is a common way to control the humidity in a building. But this is not as effective and expensive as other ways. The relative humidity stays constant all year round, no matter what the outside climate conditions are like.
Better Dehumidifiers for a Museum or Archive Setting
Museums and other special places need humidity control because they can't afford to have high moisture. Dehumidifiers can help because they take away the excess moisture.
Humidity control can help protect valuable items and artworks. You can choose the best humidity controller or alarm for your exhibition galleries or archives.
A humidity controller monitors and records the level of moisture in the air and uses it to turn on and off desiccant dehumidifiers as required.
Dehumidifiers for Museums and Archives FAQ
How Do Dehumidifier Protect Books From Termites?
Termites and other insects can be effective at accelerating the damage of books. It is very important to ensure that humidity levels in your library are maintained below 30%.
Can Dehumidifier Compromise a Stretched and Painted Artist Canvas That Is Completely Wet on the Backside?
Drying the surface of the artwork is much more important than ensuring that no damage to the canvas occurs. Ensure that the dehumidifier has a very low-level set and operates intermittently rather than continuously.
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How Much Time Does It Take for Oil Painting To Get Dry Using Dehumidifier?
Generally, it can take up to a week for oil painting on board or canvas to completely dry. The larger the area, the longer it will take.
Ensure that your paintings are flat and in a well-ventilated space so that they don't stick together while drying.
Can Dehumidifiers Prevented Bones of Ancient Mummy Tombs Turn to Dust Almost Instantly?
An airtight container is required to prevent the bones from coming into contact with too much moisture.
If you have a very large collection of mummies, it may be worth investing in a desiccant dehumidifier as they are specifically designed for this purpose.