Monitoring pollutant gases in museum microclimates: a relevant preventive conservation strategy




Indoor air quality, Collections, Risk prevention, Volatile organic compounds, Preventive conservation


Exposure to an atmosphere rich in volatile pollutants can endanger collections in museums, galleries, libraries or archives. Monitoring volatile pollutants in museum microclimates remains an unusual practice in most institutions. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be released by many sources, including the artefacts’ materials themselves. The presence of pollutants in an enclosed space with poor ventilation, adding to high temperature and relative humidity levels or significant fluctuations, may increase the risk of damage for the more susceptible materials. The tendency observed in museums to enclose artefacts in vitrines or boxes may contribute to the formation of microclimates with high VOCs concentration. Based on the studies developed in the last decades, this work intends to draw attention to the risks associated with gaseous pollutants in museum environment and outline some recommendations that encourage cultural heritage institutions to implement a pollutant monitoring plan associated with risk prevention.


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How to Cite

Barbosa, K. ., Ferreira, T., Moreira, P., & Vieira, E. . (2021). Monitoring pollutant gases in museum microclimates: a relevant preventive conservation strategy . Conservar Património, 38, 22–34.

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