Environmental monitoring equipment loans program

Managing the museum environment appropriately can reduce risks to your collection. Poorly controlled relative humidity (RH), temperature, light or UV levels may damage collections. To provide and maintain good environmental conditions for your collection, you need accurate information on the conditions in your museum. Collecting data by monitoring the environment helps to identify risks to collections, to evaluate the extent and urgency of any particular problem and to support proposals for improvements.

The Preventive Conservation Division of the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) loans equipment to help museums and galleries monitor their environments. The borrower's only cost is shipment of the equipment to the borrower and then back to CCI.

Equipment available for loan

The following instruments can be loaned from CCI for 30 days:

  • ELSEC environmental monitors for taking spot measurements of
    • RH,
    • temperature,
    • light level and
    • UV radiation level.
  • Motor-driven psychrometers that provide a measurement of temperature and RH for calibrating hygrothermographs and checking the accuracy of electronic meters.
Photo of a motor-driven psychrometer and ELSEC 765 and ELSEC 764 environmental monitors
Figure 1. Environmental monitoring equipment available for loan: motor-driven psychrometer and ELSEC 765 and ELSEC 764 environmental monitors.

CCI will also lend a suite of sample data-loggers and meters to educational institutions and provincial museum associations for preventive conservation training.

CCI no longer loans long-term data monitoring equipment (hygrothermographs or data-loggers) since environmental monitoring should be a routine part of ongoing collection care and the cost of these devices is now within reach of most heritage institutions.

Advice on purchase and use of monitoring equipment

If you are considering purchasing your own monitoring equipment, CCI can provide you with a list of equipment, distributors and approximate prices.

Correct interpretation of environmental data is essential to properly assess environmental risks to collections. We can provide assistance with graphing your data for easy interpretation or for submission with applications where this information is required, such as facility evaluations for the Designation of institutions and public authorities program or the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program.

How to borrow monitoring equipment

To borrow environmental monitoring equipment from CCI, telephone or write to:

Preventive Conservation Division
Canadian Conservation Institute
1030 Innes Road
Ottawa (Ontario)  K1B 4S7
Tel.: 613-998-3721
Fax: 613-998-4721
E-mail: iccservices-cciservices@pch.gc.ca

You will receive a loan agreement that sets out the terms and conditions of the loan. Shipping of the equipment to the borrowing institution and back to CCI is the responsibility of the borrowing institution.

Further reading

Explore the following CCI web pages for more information on the role of monitoring equipment in preventive conservation:

Videos

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