The Ontario conservation standards for community museums emphasize “the distinction between preventive care and conservation treatment.” Preventive care covers such matters as maintenance, environmental and security controls, and can be carried out by any trained staff following conservator-approved guidelines. Conservation treatment is more like surgery for artifacts and historic buildings, and should be entrusted to a professional conservator.
The Province of Ontario Standards for Community Museums, which are very similar to standards elsewhere in Canada, indicate that a “museum’s buildings and grounds must provide a safe and functional environment for visitors, staff, the collection and associated activities.” Although vital, safety considerations should not be achieved at the expense of “the integrity of heritage buildings as artifacts themselves.” Provincial security measures include the necessary equipment, safety procedures and staff training; a maintenance manual; a regular inspection schedule and housekeeping routines; environmental responsibility; and monitoring of temperature and humidity.
To meet requirements for tracking temperature and relative humidity data we offer an affordable and convenient environmental monitoring and reporting service. This is a mail-order service available to any institution or individual, anywhere. For just $180 per annum (plus $100 for each additional unit) we will mail you a professional-grade datalogger for monitoring and recording temperature and relative humidity.
When you mail the unit back to us at scheduled intervals our conservator will download the data, analyze it, and return it to you in the form of custom data graphics. We have optimized this formatting for use in annual reports and funding applications. Once the data is in, we can advise on facilities upgrades to better protect your museum or historic site.
Our environmental monitoring services are far more economical, versatile and fail safe than most subscription services, which often require clients to extract and display data using complicated interfaces. We provide you with reliable data and presentation-ready charts at a fraction of the cost. Plus, using this service is a great way to support our pro bono advocacy and assessment programs.
Contact us to discuss a plan for affordable, professional, worry-free environmental monitoring suited to the needs of your facility, collection and budget.
NB: If you choose to monitor and process your own environmental data, be aware that most readily-available equipment is sub-standard, and that you must select and test equipment carefully to ensure professional results. The US government’s National Park Service guide to datalogger selection (available here in PDF format) provides a good introduction to the subject.
The Ontario government provides extensive standards for conservation care in community museums, including such essentials as a written conservation policy; a program of staff instruction in the safe handling of artifacts; well-designed areas for collections storage; and many requirements for secure display including protection from humidity, light, pests and pollutants. There are also sound conservation standards, including ensuring that individuals treating artifacts have an appropriate level of training in conservation and that conservation treatments are properly documented.
Artifact care can be as simple as a quick dusting or as complex as a high-level conservation treatment. None of this handling, cleaning and restoration should be undertaken without consulting a reliable collections care guide and a professional conservator. When cleaning and handling artifacts it is essential to avoid using any processes or products that could compromise the integrity of the artifact, or bring harm to the people who come into contact with it.
We provide essential training in artifact handling, storage and display to ensure the safety of your collection, your facility and your people. If you need some guidance on collections care, conservator Lizz is here to help. Perhaps you and your staff would like to attend our affordable and enjoyable Collections Care Workshop, providing hands-on training in the proper handling and cleaning of artifacts. If you’d like to arrange for a workshop in your area, please contact us.
While appropriately trained museum staff can undertake basic preventive care procedures for artifacts and facilities, more specific treatment is sometimes required. Intensive cleaning and repairs to objects are always best left to a professional conservator. The Ontario guidelines state that museums should “establish priorities for making decisions regarding conservation treatment” and demonstrate “a commitment to consult with and be guided by the advice of qualified experts in conservation.” To help you meet these standards we can send an experienced conservator to help your museum with assessment of needs, including detailed condition reports and treatment proposals as required. We will always strive to work within your budget, exploring a range of options from stabilization to a full conservation treatment.
We can propose treatment protocols for entire collections or single objects from all materials and artifact types. We also provide conservation expertise in such matters as policy development, facilities improvements and exhibit design. In making these recommendations we always emphasize the safety of your collections, your staff and your visitors. We can also help you save money and engage your community with conservator-led group treatments for larger projects, as well as volunteer training in our collections care workshops or more specialized social functions.
Collections Care Products
We provide a variety of museum-grade cleaning agents, polishes and tools to ensure the well-being of your artifacts, staff and visitors. Please visit our shop for details, and stay tuned for further products including boxes and other archival supplies, which we will make available when resources permit. We are just getting started, but the more you buy, the more new products we can make!
For more collections care information visit our Artifacts & Facilities Cleaning Guide.