What’s New in Preservation?

June 30, 2017 Published by Julie Arrison-Bishop

The House of the Seven Gables recently partnered with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for a six-month project to measure environmental conditions around our National Historic Landmark District museum campus. Five “dataloggers”

were strategically placed in collections storage, the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, the Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace, and outside. From July 2016 – January 2017, these little electronic gadgets provided big information.

Ideally, interior spaces should maintain a temperature of 66° F and 74° F and a relative humidity (RH) between 37% and 53%. All of the spaces surveyed kept a similar temperature throughout the test period, but the relative humidity fluctuated greatly. These fluctuations put a number of our objects at risk for faster deterioration, especially paper, photographs, and metals.

Thanks to the team from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, The Gables has successfully used data from this report to apply for grant funding to upgrade the HVAC systems in four buildings. The report will also help to further educate and guide our staff in taking better care of our collections and archival materials.

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This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop