Documenting and Optimizing Storage Conditions at the National Museum of Denmark

James M. Reilly, Jesper Stub Johnsen and Lars Aasbjerg Jensen

New technology and approaches to environmental assessment in preventive conservation have been developed at the National Museum of Denmark (NMD) during a museum-wide project from 2004-2007. The Image Permanence Institute (IPI), a preservation research laboratory in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences of Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA was contracted by NMD to design and help conduct the assessment of storage conditions, working together with NMD staff. More than 240 locations were monitored in the course of the project, creating formidable difficulties with organization, analysis and reporting. To cope with these difficulties, a web database of environmental data and collection management information was created and given the name MyClimateData. An interface for this web site was devised allowing for analysis of groups of locations via a hierarchy of site, building, floor, room and location, as well as through searches based on any type of collection characteristics saved in the database. Analysis of the ‘preservation quality’ of the environments was performed and reported using IPI’s environmental metrics (algorithms for transforming temperature and RH data into numerical estimates for specific decay rates). The project was successful in helping NMD clarify its storage needs and future construction plans.