The debate about environmental standards for museum collections has by no means been resolved. Climate change, ever increasing energy bills, the complexity of air-conditioning systems, the feasibility of alternative climate control strategies and the real effects of inappropriate indoor environments on collections pose major questions for conservation professionals.
The papers in this volume , given at a major international conference, held at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich from 7 to 9 November 2012 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Doerner Institut, investigate what is known and what is not known about suitable environmental conditions for cultural heritage collections, presenting the most significant recent research on the subject. The global imperative to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint is evident. Museums and other cultural institutions are deeply implicated in these concerns as major consumers of energy, particularly those housed in modern buildings. The demand for a better understanding of the interactions between cultural heritage collections and the climate is pressing. The EU-funded research project Climate for Culture is currently investigating the influence of current and future climate change on cultural heritage objects. Serious concerns have been raised in the conservation community at recent extensions of the range of acceptable climate criteria for both permanent exhibitions and loans, and new theories such as the ‘proofed fluctuation concept’ are much discussed.
Climate for Collections Standards and Uncertainties addresses these issues. By adopting broad definitions of both ‘climate‘ and ‘collection’, the subject has been expanded beyond the concerns of previous conferences such as ‘Museum Microclimates’ (Copenhagen 2007) and recent discussions such as ‘The plus/minus dilemma’ (IIC/AIC 2010). To ensure these questions are addressed in depth, the topics of climate change and sustainability have been introduced.