ashmolean

Conservation Department

Environmental Monitoring

Temperature and humidity monitors
Temperature and humidity monitors

Temperature and humidity monitors

Conservators monitor the humidity and temperature in cases, galleries, and stores with a variety of instruments. Objects can be damaged if the humidity or temperature is too high, too low, or if these factors change too rapidly.

Light monitors

Conservators monitor the light levels in cases and galleries because light is destructive. The most damaging part of light is invisible and is called ultraviolet light (UV). This can damage your skin by causing 'sunburn'. Even low levels of light can cause irreversible damage, so in storage all artefacts are kept in darkness.

Pollution monitors

Pollution monitors
Pollution monitors

Pollution has only recently been recognized as a serious problem in museums and currently there are several institutions researching this problem. Conservators use a range of pollution monitors to assess the conditions in the cases, the galleries, and the stores. Once it is known what types of pollution are present, steps can be taken to eliminate its source and thereby prevent the harmful effects on the artefacts.