Video – Frameworks, Maps, Tools and Patterns


Transcript of the video "Frameworks, Maps, Tools and Patterns"

Video length: 00:40:24

[Canadian Heritage signature]

[Canadian Conservation Institute signature]

[Text on screen:

Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI)

Presents an excerpt from:

"Risk management and risk-based decision making for museum, gallery, archive and historic house collections"

Speaker: Irene Karsten, CCI

Session: "Frameworks, Maps, Tools and Patterns"

This advanced professional development workshop was held March 15-18, 2016 at CCI in Ottawa.]

[Text on screen: Frameworks, Maps, Tools and Patterns]

Irene Karsten (CCI): "We're going to talk today about frameworks, maps, tools, patterns; things that can assist you, if you actually go forward and do risk-based decision making."

[Photograph of costume accessories in a custom-made storage box with carved, padded Ethafoam nests inside stacking trays made from archival grade cardboard]

Irene Karsten: "Let's go back to the old days, you know, when it was so easy because we just went around to places and we saw these beautiful things.

And we said, that's what we got to do! It's just that."

[Photograph of fine art storage racks]

Irene Karsten: "It's best practice. That's what we need. We get that. We've got it.

We're caring for our collection properly. Oh yeah! While getting the money might have been a problem from time to time, but it was so clear, because it was visual, right?

That's what we were aiming for. Now these guys they want to make risk-based decisions."

[Photograph of mobile storage units in an archives storage vault]

Irene Karsten: "Adopt a method. Yeah I want that, right? Yeah, you want that?"

[Text on screen: graph comparing the magnitude of risk for risks analysed as part of a comprehensive risk assessment of a historic house museum]

Irene Karsten: "They want you to do numbers and graphs. But, you just did some risk analysis. Did you watch yourself do that? You see, you've already done it.

And it's really interesting and you'll never think about preventive conservation the same way again, once you start going into this method.

You know a lot already, it's not that difficult. It's just a different way of thinking about things.

What I'm going to do in this talk is just start to give an overview of some of the tools and frameworks and ideas that are out there, that can help you get to understand how to do this kind of thinking.

And the first one's easy because you already know it. Probably."

[Text on screen: 10 Agents of deterioration: Physical forces; Thieves and vandals; Fire; Water; Pests; Pollutants; Light, UV and IR; Incorrect temperature; Incorrect RH; Dissociation]

Irene Karsten: "It's the ten agents of the deterioration.

I'm going to start with some frameworks. These are things we use, and Rob referred to this earlier today.

These are structures that we use to think systematically about things.

And the agents are just one way that we can use to look at a problem, and then say: what's really going on here?

You kind of use the agents when you were looking at the totem pole risk, because you say: what kinds of things could harm those totem the polls if we put a big party in the middle of the room?

It's particularly important when you're doing comprehensive risk assessments because you want to make sure you cover the whole range of possible things that could go wrong.

But it's also really useful in a focused decision-making situation, where again you want to tease out what are the parts of the problem, and how does the damage actually occur?

It's not enough to say damage happens. You have to, as you saw with those risk summary sentences, you have to figure out what the agent is, and then how it creates damage.

Agents are part of the framework for preservation that CCI puts out, so you probably know it from that."

[Text on screen: The five "Stages" of control: 1. Avoid. 2. Block. 3. Detect. 4. Respond. 5. Recover/Treat]

Irene Karsten: "In that framework, you also have the five stages of control.

Again, these help us think about how much damage is likely to occur in a certain situation, because we look at: are there things in place that help us avoid that agent?

Or block that agent from getting to our collections? Or, do we have things that help us detect the presence of an agent, so that then we can respond, perhaps more quickly than otherwise, and prevent something from happening or prevented from getting really bad damage.

Or, there's always in the final fall back is: well nothing else worked, but we respond and we treat the damage or at least learn from that experience, and next time, it won't happen."

[Text on screen: The six "Layers": 1. Region. 2. Site. 3. Building. 4. Rooms. 5. Fittings. 6. Packing and support]

Irene Karsten: "Each of these stages of control, we can apply at six different layers.

Starting right at the object, in its mount or its storage container, or we can look at fittings that support the object, display cases, and storage furniture, for example.

All of those things might be in a room, so some of these various things that are protecting your object might be at the room level, or in the building that houses the room with collections, or on the site around the building in which collections are housed.

Or, we have to push it right back even to the region, because sometimes the risks are associated with that building being located in a particular geographic location.

Again, by sitting down with these six layers we can think very systematically about how risk occur to a particular collection.

These are just thinking tools, but they're really basic at that first stage when you're trying to figure out risk summary sentences, these are extremely helpful.

Fortunately, we can go past that. We already have some models around certain risks to help us start to put numbers on things."

[Text on screen: Control Levels]

Irene Karsten: "I'm going to talk about a few of those. The first one I'm going to talk about is what we call a "control level" and what is a control level?"

[Chart of control levels]

Irene Karsten: "In general, a control level is a series of protective measures that are grouped according to certain levels of protection that they give to a collection.

They're often organized by the stages of control. You see at the top of this chart?

The control level is one to six down the left side, and then at the top, the measures are grouped by avoid, block, detect, respond, and recover.

Often that way and sometimes there's a few extra different kinds of columns as well.

But they're grouped in sort of a meaningful manner, and then the least control is number one, and as you go down the list towards number six, you have increasingly sophisticated control over that particular problem.

You have less possibility of damage to your collection. How do you determine your control level?

You simply go through the measures and you check off which ones you have and which ones you don't.

As soon as you have those all checked off, it's usually in a control level system, the highest number in which you've checked off everything that gives you your control level.

That's usually how it's defined.

Something like that. In this case, for number one, it's all there but number two, there's significant gaps.

This institution for our problem, which we haven't defined yet, would be at control level one."

[Fire incident]

[Text on screen: Fire

Tétreault, J "Fire Risk Assessment for Collections in Museums." JCAC, 33 (2008), pp. 3-21]

Irene Karsten: "But what does that mean? Let's put it in terms of specific agents of deterioration.

CCI scientist, Jean Tétreault, has developed a control level approach to fire and we've talked about that earlier.

There's the citation for the paper in the Journal of the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property, and it's available to everybody on the web."

[Text on screen: The Control Levels are related to the frequency of a fire incident. The average mean time in years between fires in a Canadian institution varies according to control level. From once per 140 years for Control Levels 1 and 2. Once per 160 years for Control Level 3; every 720 years for Level 4; every 1,500 years for Level 5 and every 2,800 at Level 6]

Irene Karsten: "In his paper, he shows how the control levels are associated with a likely frequency for fire.

If your institution worked out this chart, and said: "We're at control level 1", then it's very probable that you will see a fire of some size approximately every hundred and forty years.

It can go up too, based on this model, if you have all the protection measures in place, a control level six.

The estimate, working with a fire expert, is that it's going to be on the order of 2,800 years that you have a fire of any size.

You can get very, very good control and really reduce the chance of having any kind of fire, but most of the people that we are working with are more in the control level one to three range."

[Text on screen: Technical Bulletin 29: Strang and Kigawa: "Combatting Pests of Cultural Property"]

Irene Karsten: "The other control level that we have available here that has been produced through people from CCI is for pests, and this is work from Tom Strang and Rika Kigawa, that they've developed for pest risks.

It's in CCI Technical Bulletin number 29, which is also available on the CCI website.

It works in a similar way. You just look at the various measures in place and see which matches your institution."

[Text on screen: Natural Hazard Maps]

Irene Karsten: "For things like fire that occur infrequently we need some kind of tool to help us establish the 'A' score or the frequency, because it's not within our own experience.

They happen less frequently in most people's careers, unless you're in a really fire prone area. It's the same for a lot of natural hazard risks.

You need help. You need statistical help to understand the 'A' score for these kind of risks.

But fortunately for natural hazard risks it's not just heritage institutions that are affected, there's a lot of people, a lot of areas, different cities, and everybody being affected by these kinds of issues.

Therefore lots of people are interested in the frequency."

[2005 Seismic Hazard Map, Geological Survey of Canada: Natural Resources Canada:]

Irene Karsten: "For that reason, we have access to natural hazard maps.

I will give you a couple of examples.

A big one of course is earthquakes.

The map of Canada showing the various earthquake zones in Canada.

The zones depicted here are linked to the damages expected for an earthquake that has a probability of ten percent in 50 years, or what we can call a return period of roughly 500 years.

This data is out there, it's described in terms of that frequency so we can use that to analyze the risk of that very big earthquake.

But to complete the whole risk, we have to understand the damage.

To do that, you figure out your zone and then that gets linked what's called the modified Mercalli scale, which categorizes the intensity of earthquakes in terms of observed damage.

I've just given you the definitions for the red zones, which are the areas in Canada that can expect the absolute biggest earthquakes."

[2005 Seismic Hazard Map "Red zones: Munich Re Zone 4: MMI IX (~Richter 6.9 +)" Violent. General panic. Damage to masonry buildings ranges from collapse to serious damage unless modern design. Wood-frame structures rack, and, if not bolted, shifted off foundations. Underground pipes broken]

Irene Karsten: "In those higher zones, they tend to be described in terms of what's going to happen to buildings.

What kind of buildings you can expect to collapse? They don't necessarily give much detail as to what's going to happen inside the buildings, but I'm sure you can imagine that if your building collapses on top of your collection, you have a problem.

You also have a problem however, if all you've done is reinforced your building and you haven't done anything to secure the collections inside those buildings.

But it gives you an idea, and we can use this information to do an analysis."

[Flood hazard map of downtown Calgary indicating: flood fringe, flood plains and overland flow zones.]

Irene Karsten: "Flood hazard maps are the other area where we can get really good information to understand risks.

This is becoming increasingly available over the internet.

The best material in Canada is available for Alberta because they have a nice mapping application for the whole province.

Here, I'm showing you downtown Calgary, since they had very big flood issues just a few years ago.

Just to explain what's going on, the red areas are what is called the floodplain.

All of these areas that are sort of pink or red, it's modelled as the area that has a one-percent risk of flooding in any particular year, or it's a return period of a hundred years is that a hundred-year flood.

The red areas are where the water is going to really move very fast, and so that's the floodplain.

The flood fringe, the waters are probably moving less quickly, so there's less damage just from the force of the water per se, but quite frankly if it fills your storage basement, you don't care.

It's still water damage. An overflow area, again, its part of the flood fringe. These are all part of this hundred year model flood.

If you're in Calgary, and you want to place a museum, where are you going to put it? In the yellow area, I hope. And that's the Glenbow Museum, they were smart.

National Music Center, on the other hand?

What I'm showing you is their current location, and the new location where they're building their new building.

What were they thinking? I guess the fortunate part of the story is that as they were excavating the new site, the 2013 floods happened and excavated site filled up with water.

They were going to put their storage in the basement, which is where part of their storage, but not the most important part of their collection was in their current building.

It's like they just lost part of their collection.

They're not putting their storage in the basement of the new building, end of story, it's decided.

I'd like to see a lot more use of these kind of maps to prevent the building; the even thinking about putting storage in a basement on a floodplain.

Geospatial maps like this are becoming more and more apparent for various kinds of risks available, because the technology is there with GPS and things.

Tom Strang at CCI is currently working on building multi-hazard maps for risks associated with Canadian museums, and I'm looking forward to seeing the kinds of things he's coming up with.

Those are some of the big risks and we can get a sense of how frequently or whether they're going to occur to our institution."

[Text on screen: Tools]

Irene Karsten: "What about those things that we love so much, which is the things that happen more gradually, like environmental problems and light problems?

The stuff we've always worried about forever.

Well, we have tools for those as well so you can do those ones too."

[Photograph of two chairs upholstered with the same fabric]

[Text on screen: Light fading]

Irene Karsten: "I'm going to start with colour fading.

Here's a picture of two chairs from Eldon House when we did our risk assessment, and you can kind of see that the one on the right, it's looking a little bit duller than the one on the left.

It's the same fabric, it's sort of part of a set.

We've taken the cushions off the front of that one, so you can show what the original colour was like.

I'm going to use these two chairs to just do a demonstration of how you can use the CCI Light Damage Calculator, and the associated data that's behind that calculator to start analyzing a light risk."

[Photograph of the two chairs with a colour suite below each chair. Text below the chair on the left: prior exposure, 50 lux, 2 hours per day, 2 months of the year, 100 years, exposure with UV. The chair on the right: prior exposure, 50 lux, 12 hours per day, every day of the year, 100 years, exposure with UV]

Irene Karsten: "Here are two chairs. I pulled a suite of colours from the Light Damage Calculator that is the collection of textile items in the Light Damage Calculator.

What you have here is on this end you have very sensitive dyes, and on this end you have the less sensitive dyes.

This is the range from very sensitive to barely sensitive at all, and in-between, in the middle.

Because with textile, you don't know how sensitive the dyes are, so we assume there's a mix.

These chairs are in a historic house museum collection.

Actually they were in the historic house before it was a museum.

Let's just say that for 50 years they were in the house, just doing what chairs do, in front of windows, whatever.

Then it became a museum, and another 50 years they just sat in in that same place again because its a historic house museum, you just keep it looking like what it was when it was a house, right?

That's the idea. So, it's a hundred years in the light in a historic house museum, the windows have no UV film because it's just a house. It's actually a pretty dim house.

If you just go around on an average day, and you take light readings, it's about 50 lux.

They had to install actual electric lights, just so people could see the museum when they went through.

Otherwise, the volunteers had to take flashlights to let people see what was on display.

So, it's not very bright, but it's a hundred years under those conditions and we can say approximately, it's on average about 12 hours of light a day at that level.

The chair on the right was sitting near the window.

Here, I'm showing you what you would enter into the Light Damage Calculator to model that situation.

Now, I'm going to show you the result.

This is when they were made, and this is a hundred years later."

[Photograph of chairs with an added colour suite below each. New text below the chair on the left: 0.6 Mlx h and the chair on the right: 21.9 Mlx h]

Irene Karsten: "And you can see, it sort of looks like our two chairs.

You can see if you look at the very bottom, the Light Damage Calculator estimates the mega lux hours of exposure under those conditions.

So, the one had a lot of exposure, the other one was in a corner, the fabrics were covered up.

They had to clean it once in a while, but hardly any exposure.

The colours are almost as they were originally, with a little bit of fading here on the sensitive one.

But the one that was in front of the window is looking like this.

This has already happened. Too late, can't do anything about it, dye fading!"

[Photograph of the two chairs with a colour suite below each chair. Text below the chair on the left: future exposure, 50 lux, 12 hours per day, every day of the year, 30 years, exposure without UV, 0.6 plus 6.57 Mlxh. The chair on the right: same future exposure future exposure, 50 lux, 12 hours per day, every day of the year, 30 years, exposure without UV, 21.9 plus 6.57 Mlxh.]

Irene Karsten: "So what you're really now interested in, if you're going to model the risk, is the future.

You're starting with this. Now you say, okay, let's put some UV film on the windows.

Let's deal with this problem a little bit. UV film goes on the windows.

Then somebody says: "Let's pull that beautiful chair from the corner, closer to where people can see it, in front of the window, because then people can see the original colours of this fabric."

This new display is going to stay up for 30 years.

Let's model the next 30 years.

We're going to put it in the Light Damage Calculator, and in this case now we're going to assume that the fabrics of both chairs are exposed equally to the same conditions.

That's what we're showing in here, but they started from a smaller exposure.

They're getting the identical additional exposure.

See here at the bottom? What happens? The Light Damage Calculator can show you."

[Photograph of the two chairs with an added colour suite below each chair]

Irene Karsten: "Well, both are faded a little bit more but in terms of risk, the loss of value for this chair is not necessarily the same as the loss of value for this chair.

This chair, well you may not even see the difference, because it already looked pretty faded.

But this chair, looked pristine and now it's starting to look a little bit dull.

Here is where when you're analyzing this risk, you can say, in 30 years there's this amount of loss of value, but you see how the loss of value depends on where the chair started in the first place."

[Photograph of laboratory set up of a microfade tester at CCI analysing the fading rate of colours in collages in a book]

Irene Karsten: "Of course, if you have some time and money, you can do some microfade testing, and test every single colour in the textile or in this case, it's a work on paper, and find out exactly how sensitive the colours are, and therefore how fast they're going to fade.

In this case, 90 percent of the colours in this particular example were highly sensitive to light fading.

Then you can make decisions that way too."

[Graph showing annual changes in temperature and relative humidity in a collection storage room with only partial control of both. Temperature fluctuates between roughly 19 ºC and 23 ºC in summer and between roughly 14 ºC and 18 ºC in winter. Relative humidity usually fluctuates between 50-60% in summer with a few spikes over 65% and varies between 15% and 40% in winter. Short-term fluctuations on the order of 15-20% occur regularly]

Irene Karsten: "Let's go to our most favourite topic; when we're thinking about collections, which is relative humidity and temperature.

Those crazy storage places that have absolutely no environmental control. We have some tools that can help understand this kind of risk as well.

This is a very typical graph that you'll see in a space that has very little control and gets very dry.

Actually, this has a bit of humidification in the winter. A place with no with control would probably drop down closer to zero, depending on your climate.

Obviously, it has heating, but you can also see they're letting the temperature drop a little bit in winter.

This is a warehouse space but the humidity goes very high in the summer, drops very low in the winter, and you see lots of crazy peaks all the way around."

[Photograph of paper document showing the yellow-brown colour and edge tears and losses indicative of embrittled, acidic paper]

Irene Karsten: "So, you may be surprised when I tell you that, if we look at a material like very acidic paper, or unstable material like rubber, it's not really the relative humidity that's your problem, it's the temperature."

[Photograph of back of a doll with rubber body; the rubber exhibits numerous surface cracks and grey discoloration indicative of advanced deterioration]

Irene Karsten: "I'm going to say, that storage in that room that gave the graph that you just saw, is actually no worse than putting it in our beautiful climate controlled 50 plus or minus 5, 20 plus or minus 2 degrees Celsius storage room.

How can I say that? Well, because we have a tool."

[Scientific model graphs derived from the Arrhenius equation that predict the course of thermal ageing or chemical decay, depicting approximately 100, 143 and 210 years for the lifetimes of items]

Irene Karsten: "We have equations that model the decay of materials like paper, the Arrhenius equation, and they predict the course of thermal aging or chemical decay.

This has been scientifically established.

Stefan Michalski can use these equations to create what we call, a lifetime calculator.

Which is essentially a spreadsheet, where we put in some average environmental data of the particular space, and it will tell us how long a piece has before it reaches what we call, the end of its lifetime.

In this graph, we're thinking about a material that has a relatively low chemical stability, a material like newsprint.

Generally, the class is 30 to 100 years, but newsprint, in a hundred years, in a museum-type setting, with normal room temperature is probably pretty good.

This is what we call, ASHRAE class AA storage environment, the best anybody ever does. It's going to last about 100 years.

Now, I'm going to show you the graph. This is the graph where it's warmer in the summer, a little bit cooler in the winter. You see here?

This is summer, this is winter. It's humid in the summer, it's dry in the winter, and the fluctuations are like plus or minus 10 on average.

Actually, you know what, that stuff is going to last about 143 years. Why?

Because, the chemical decay processes go faster in higher temperature, and this is cooler in the winter.

It's also a little bit drier in the winter, which also slows those processes down a little bit.

We put those numbers in the calculator and it tells us approximately how long it will take before it gets to the same amount of deterioration as that blue line.

What's really nice about this calculator, is to test out numbers to say, what can we gain if we really change the environment?

Let's say the decision was, what if we cool down that space?

Let's not talk about building a new space, let's just cool down that space so that it's 16 degrees Celsius year round.

Well, if we do that, we probably have to expect a little bit of pushing up of the relative humidity in the summer.

It's going to be the same in winter, right?

When we do that, we can see that just keeping it cool all year round, is going to double the life of the newsprint.

This is a really useful tool for helping us understand how both relative humidity and temperature, but it's mostly temperature driven, affects the progress of the decay of various materials.

It's not just these low chemical stability materials, because you can set it up to look at medium chemical stability materials as well.

We usually don't worry too much about things that are pretty stable under these conditions because they're going to last long enough anyways.

It's these low chemical stability ones that we worry about. A very useful tool that is gradually becoming available for people to use.

We've just been using it for a couple years at CCI".

[Text on screen: Patterns]

Irene Karsten: "Now we get to the 'Pattern' part of the talk. This has already come up.

Yes, there can be tools, and you have to sit and figure out the risks, but a way to get closer to understanding what your risks might be is to see what's happening in institutions that have well analyzed risks.

I'm going to talk a little bit about what we've seen in our projects.

As a guide to understanding what you see other risks, no two institutions are identical, so you have to be careful at how you look at it.

What we can do, is kind of say, what risks get slotted in these categories of risk that you see in the chart?"

[Colour coded chart of magnitude of risk and the level of priority. Blue, 5 ½ to 7, negligible priority. Green, 7 ½ to 9, medium. Yellow, 9 ½ to 11, high. Orange, 11 ½ to 13, extreme. Red, 13 ½ to 15, catastrophic priority]

Irene Karsten: "This is from the manual. Based on magnitude of risk score, they're related to a category in terms of priority, and we illustrate these by using traffic light colours.

The redder the colour, the higher the risk, the bigger potential problem to your collection.

The bluer the colour, the lower the risk, maybe it's being well managed.

We can start to see some patterns in terms of what kinds of risks fall into those categories.

For example, we did two historic house museums in our pilot project, in part to see if this method would see that kind of similarity, or differences among similar institutions."

[Photographs of yellow brick historic house museum (Glanmore National Historic Site, Belleville, Ontario) and its main stairwell in the front hall. White clapboard historic house museum (Eldon House, London, Ontario) and its front hall stairs]

[Text on screen: Fire]

Irene Karsten: "In both of these institutions, they did have fire control levels that were in the level one to two range, and both ended up having very high fire risks."

[Text on screen: Pests]

Irene Karsten: "At the same time, they both ended up having just medium pest risks, even though both institutions had basic IPM.

But, nobody was trapping insects, and nobody was doing major statistics on how many moths they identify each year in their collections.

That was not happening, and yet they weren't getting infestations and they weren't getting a lot of damage.

They did get occasional pests, but it's one thing and a little bit of damage.

The risks were medium ones."

[Graphs depicting the average magnitude of risk by agent of deterioration for the 5 projects that CCI has done. The agents are listed from top to bottom in order of highest to lowest average magnitude of risk]

Irene Karsten: "Here now I want to show you, these are summary and average results from all our projects, and I haven't identified which are which because I just want you to see the overall patterns. The purple bars is the average magnitude of risk for those five institutions.

I've included the preliminary data for Science and Tech, even though we haven't absolutely completed that report.

So this data is open to changing but it gives you a sense anyways.

So that's the average of each of the five underneath, and what I want you to look at, is some of the patterns.

Even though each institution is individual and ultimately you need to know the risks for that institution, we can start to see certain things happening here.

These are organized by the highest average risk by agent.

I've averaged over agent, these are not specific risks, and these are averaged over agent from the highest down to the lowest based on the average amongst all these institutions.

What do I want you to notice? Fire, up near the top. That's what we've seen in general.

People have fire systems to a certain extent but the control levels in most of our clients were, at most a three.

It was gaps, often gaps, not necessarily in fire systems but in training or procedures.

They just weren't having that full suite of measures in place.

There is one exception that you see here, and this is an institution that does have everything in place.

It has the fire systems suppression in all its buildings, it has training for its staff, and it has good fire prevention procedures in place.

It also has its collection in more than one building, so it is almost impossible to take out the whole collection by a fire.

I could say it's impossible that all these buildings, because some are across town, that all would go into flames at the same time.

Wow, that would be very interesting.

That also brings its risk down.

It's the one that we've seen to date that falls below a magnitude of risk of ten.

Look at pest, down here at the bottom. Medium risk at most. Some of them are low-risk.

For the institutions we have looked at, and we have not yet looked at an institution with a collection say like a natural history collection that is highly sensitive to pests and highly attractive to pests.

For the institutions we have looked at this is not a big problem. All of these institutions are doing basic IPM, but they're not doing fancy things. Here is incorrect relative humidity that we often worry about.

Down at the bottom in terms of average, but it actually reflects two different sets of institutions.

First, right underneath the yellow bar, it's on average, it's just not quite a 10 on average.

There's a gap, that's an institution we didn't even look at, we didn't even analyze the risk.

It was an archive, we looked at the situation, it was in the prairies, it did not get humid, and it was dry which is great for archives.

We looked at all the stuff in boxes and said: there's no fluctuation that we have to worry about, didn't even go on the list.

Then there were two where it was basically either the stuff is not affected by relative humidity, so a lot of metal stuff or it was material that had been in the house for so long that it was essentially proofed.

If there was damage, you would need a more extreme event than had happened over the last hundred years, basically is what we were looking at.

There are a couple here that did score high, and these are for very particular reasons.

Just to show you that it's very specific to an institution, one is a historic house museum with a brick exterior, and we were modelling the risk should we humidify the interior to get that correct museum environment.

They knew from past practice of trying this, that this would result in spalling of the brick. This was Glanmore, you saw the pictures.

The building is the bulk of their value, so this ranked as high, if they were to do that. If they were to go ahead and try to protect the contents, they would put their building at risk.

The other is an art gallery that had an HVAC designed in such a way that if the humidification system were to fail in winter, which is when it's likely to fail because it's under heavy load trying to humidify the space, there was no backup.

It was a system that was very highly likely to result in an extended downtime to get the parts to fix the system.

In that case, we would see a drop in relative humidity in winter that could put a collection of paintings, including some paint films that are very highly sensitive to very low relative humidity, at risk.

That ended up scoring a ten.

Which is again, where we start to say maybe something should be happening to bring the risk low, although it's certainly not an 11 or a 12, as Stefan was talking about earlier.

Finally, just to gloss over, we already talked about incorrect temperature.

This is at the top because of collections with substantial holdings of materials that are of low chemical stability or medium chemical stability.

It's the archive with lots of low quality paper, stuff from the mid-19th century to mid-20th century, it's going to decay relatively quickly.

As well as magnetic media, and acetate film and negatives, things that could go relatively quickly when they're stored at room temperature.

As well, it includes our neighbours next door, Science and Technology, because they have a big archive that you saw this morning.

It's not their most valuable collection, but it's huge relative to their object collection, and it again has these kind of issues involved.

But they also have a lot of plastics in their collection.

Part of the reason that bar is so high, is that they have a lot of unstable plastics in their collection that they're dealing with.

So there was a whole bunch of risks that add up to give that value there.

If those kind of materials are not present, incorrect temperature is a medium risk, if we even analyze it at all.

Medium risk is when we look at stuff stored in an attic that gets hot every summer.

So the more we analyze risk, the more we can start to see what kind of factors get associated with these different categories.

We can start to use these colours and factors to say: these are risks we should focus on, or these factors are present.

So these are probably risks we need to worry about, these factors are not present, so there's not a risk here.

We can start to even begin to make predictions based on general factors rather than a specific institution, but only for the case, at this point anyways and what I'm interested in particular is emergency risk, for the case of risks that if certain factors are present, there is a high probability of the bulk of the collection being affected.

Therefore you end up having a very high to extreme risk."

[Chart with colour coded sections. Blue and green is for "manage", yellow and orange "reduce" and red "avoid" along with a photograph of a hallway of an art museum flooded with several inches of water]

Irene Karsten: "In a case of flood, what factors can we say are very likely to have a big impact on your collection, a negative impact on your collection?

Well, storage of the bulk of your collection below grade on a floodplain.

You have a high-risk. That's just that's the way it is, because unless you have a few pieces of very, very high value, that are the bulk of the value of your collection, that are not in storage, a flood in your storage which is going to happen eventually.

By the way, I've done some calculations that is a flood at least, even if it is only every thousand years.

It's still in that area, so we are not only talking about the hundred year flood, we are talking about very rare floods, it's still going to end up in that area.

The other thing to worry about is, if you have storage below grade, in a space that's near old water mains or old sewer pipes, etc.

Which are known to break and send lots of water through your walls, if they're very close. Storage below grade is not a great idea. It doesn't mean it's absolutely bad, it can be managed, so you need to know the details.

But, if these conditions exist, you can bet you're going to have a flood and it's going to score up in this high to extreme range. So, just don't do it."

[Photograph of an example of a purpose-built art gallery building, the Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario]

Irene Karsten: "I'm just going to end with a few comments, and this already came up about new buildings, because sometimes we think this is how we're going to solve all our problems.

To a certain extent it can work, and it does work. In our projects, we've just begun to use graphs to give our clients ammunition to support the idea of a new building."

[Graph estimating the impact of a new building construction on the entire risk profile for a collection. Scale is from 0 to 15 for magnitude of risk. Type of risks: incorrect environment, acidic paper; vinegar syndrome; fire; incorrect environment, colour photographs; incorrect environment, magnetic media; incorrect environment, medium stability records; tornado; gaseous pollutants; handling of brittle records; water, major leak; and damage due to transport]

Irene Karsten: "Here, these are results from our Saskatchewan archives board project.

The bars in black, that's their current risk, and the bars on top in grey, that would be the risk should they put their collection in a new, properly, well-designed building.

And you can see that, just look at the number over here, the yellow here defines that threshold of a 10 risk, which is high, or higher versus ones that are lower.

Look at the numbers that were above 10 that fall below 10 by putting them in a new building that's designed to certain criteria.

There's even a few that we said, if you design this right, this particular risk, it's a specific risk, would just disappear off the map entirely.

You'd have to look at the specific risks to know why that occurs.

We can add these all up and know the total risk.

There's the total risk, at the top.

Essentially taking all of these risks that are affected by facilities, and adding them together.

You'll notice that it's really the big risks that control the level of that total risk.

You can add a whole bunch up, but because it's an order of magnitude scale, it's the big numbers.

If you only have one big number, see it's not that much higher than that top big number, that control the size of the total risk.

We're looking at this, and this is actually not a bad reduction.

Because the risk is so high, this new building is not highly cost-effective, but it's starting to become something to think about.

If you think that's a small reduction, well I'm just going to translate this into the linear scale."

[Linear scale graph]

Irene Karsten: "There's a linear scale graph, showing the true reduction.

This is what they have currently, they put in a new building, and this is what they have left.

This also shows very nicely what Stefan was saying earlier, why we a log scale, because all the little risks just drop off the graph, and you can't even see them, and those were all those other risks that we saw before.

This can be very useful to support trying to get funding for a new building.

Risk assessment can also be used, and we heard some more earlier this day, to support during the design and construction of a new building to make sure that certain things get in the new building.

It's one thing to get people to agree to build you a new building, but then it has to be designed properly to give the results that the graph shows."

[Pie chart: Degree of compliance: fully observed 61%; mostly observed 16%; partially observed 10%; moderately or minimally observed 2%; not observed 4% and not applicable 7%]

Irene Karsten: "This comes from a project that José Luiz Pedersoli did in Brazil, for the new preservation center of the Rui Barbosa House Museum, and he showed early this morning; he showed the plan for that Museum.

Where he worked with a team, he set some recommendations and criteria at the beginning.

Then they worked through the process, to try and meet all those recommendations.

Here is his graph to show the degree of compliance with those recommendations.

By working it this way, and having those criteria up front, they were able to make sure that 61 percent were fully observed, then 16 percent were mostly observed, and then there's a handful that weren't quite observed.

You know what building a new building is, you get cuts, and there's certain things you have to just let go of.

But most of the stuff ended up being there, which is really, really great.

That's one way you can use risk in new buildings."

[Diagram of five-stage cycle of risk management]

Irene Karsten: "But I want to end by reminding you that risk management is a cyclic process, which means you come back to it, it's ongoing.

And though a new building may seem like the goal that you want to solve all your problems."

[Photograph of interior of a building under construction]

Irene Karsten: "Construction is also a key source of risks to collections, especially if it involves renovation on-site."

[Photograph of Victoria Museum under construction in 1899]

Irene Karsten: "Of course, all new buildings eventually become old.

This is the Victoria Memorial Building, which is now the Canadian Museum of Nature, here in town, at the beginning of 1899 and it's under construction.

Just recently, the whole building did a whole new retro-fit.

Give it another hundred years, and they'll be fussing about that building again, and that's life.

Thank you."


[Canada wordmark]

This video was created by the Canadian Conservation Institute as part of the workshop "Risk Management and Risk-based Decision Making for Museum, Gallery, Archive and Historic House Collections." Learn more about risk management for heritage collections and view the risk management webcast recordings.

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