Poster Abstracts

Indoor Air Quality in Museums and Historic Properties
IAQ 2003: 5th meeting of the Indoor Air Pollution Working Group

University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
Norwich, April 28th-29th, 2003

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Investigation on the Environment in the Exhibition or Storage Facilities of Cultural Properties

Jung Ki Hong 1 & Yoon Shin Kim 2
Conservation Science Division, National Research Institute of Cultural Properties, Seoul, Korea1
Director of Environmental Health & Air Pollution, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea2

This study includes investigation data obtained at 8 sites of 4 institutes from December, 2000 to March, 2001 and analysis results of conservation environment of cultural properties. The object of this study find out the cause of deterioration which has been damaged cultural properties at exhibition or storage facilities. It is also expected that this can be used as a fundamental material for setting up the preservation measures and the environment standards of cultural properties. The investigated environmental factors are general conditions (temperature, relative humidity, air velocity) and gaseous pollutants like CO2, CO, SO2, HCHO, Total HC, NO2, O3, H2S. Results show that CO2 level of the exhibition room A was 493 ppm and this high concentration is due to poor ventilation and HVAC system shutdown. Both SO2 and NO2 concentrations to be 0.010 ppm, higher than the other exhibition rooms because of the extra air-controller of the exhibition room B. The concentrations of HCHO and HC at the exhibition room C measured 0.02 ppm and 3.5 ppm because these high numerical values is the exhibit. The storage room A measured high concentration of all the gaseous pollutants because of ill ventilation and the newly-built. Additionally, it is concluded that stored remains of the storage room C-1 and C-2 affected the concentrations of SO2, HCHO and Total HC. Investigation data demonstrated the highest SO2 concentration (0.068 ppm and 0.049 ppm respectively) and somewhat high HCHO and Total HC concentrations. By reason of classification of stored cultural properties, CO2 concentration of storage room B marked high value, 494 ppm. The relative humidity of storage room D, 32 % is not enough to store ancient books therefore it should be increased to point 50-60 %. O3 and H2S were not detected at any measuring sites. So it is thought that there was no influence of inside generation and input from atmosphere.

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Assessment of Indoor Air Quality Based on the Interaction of Materials and Airborne Pollutants

Jean Tétreault
Canadian Conservation Institute, 1030 Innes Road Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0M5, Canada

The concepts of lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) and no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) can be used to quantify the sensitivity of various materials to airborne pollutants [1]. These data are helpful in determining the level of protection of a collection against pollutants. Assessments can be done for a specific material versus a specific pollutant (micro assessment) or for a large or mixed collection versus all key pollutants in the collection environment (macro assessment).

[1] Tétreault, J. Airborne Pollutants in Museums, Galleries and Archives: Risk Assessment, Control Strategies and Preservation Management, Canadian Conservation Institute. Ottawa (2003).

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Characterization of Air Pollutant Levels in Showcases of Four Museums in Belgium

V. Kontozova, F. Deutsch# & R. Van Grieken
University of Antwerp, Department of Chemistry (MiTAC), Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerp, Belgium
#: Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Boeretang 200, B-2400 Mol, Belgium

The concentrations of important air pollutants (SO2, NO2, O3, formic acid and acetic acid) were measured in four museums in Belgium: The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Brussels, the Plantin-Moretus Museum and the Museum Vleeshuis in Antwerp and the Museum Mariemont in Morlanweltz. Sampling was carried out by means of passive diffusion tube samplers (Radiello®, Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Padova, Italy). The analyses were performed by ion chromatography (IC) and by UV/VIS-spectrophotometry. Sampling rates of the diffusion tubes were calculated using diffusion coefficients and the effective geometric constants of the passive samplers. The principal results obtained were in agreement with each other for all four museums. The levels of the outside pollutants NO2, SO2 and O3 were highest in the outside air, substantially reduced on the exhibition galleries and furthermore significantly reduced inside the display cases. Percentages of reduction were, in accordance with their reactivity, lowest for NO2 and highest for O3. The pollutant concentrations in the galleries always reflected the situation outside of the museum (e.g. busy streets at MIM, green environment around Mariemont). Additionally, the higher the extent of "fresh" air input into the galleries, the higher the concentrations of the outdoor pollutants there. The levels inside the showcases depended mainly on the extent of their aeration. The concentrations of indoor pollutants (formic and acetic acid) were found to be anti-proportional to the ones of the outdoor pollutants. Their concentrations were lowest outdoors, significantly enriched on the exhibition galleries and highest inside the showcases. The influence of construction materials used inside the museum and especially for the showcases was evident. Showcases made from fiberboard accumulated still higher concentrations of organic acids than showcases made from wood. The level of acetic acid inside the showcases sometimes exceeded even 1 mg/m3. Hence, it seems that sometimes the harmful effect of the showcases exceeded their protecting effect against outdoor pollutants. Depending on the kind of work of art, the storage in showcases can improve, but also deteriorate the conditions for conservation.

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The MASTER-project - a New Early Warning System for Protection of Organic Objects in Museums and Historic Buildings

E. Dahlin * 1, M. Cassar 2, J. Heinze 3, M. Lazaridis 4, J. Czop 5, D. Howell 6 and A. Sommer-Larsen 7.
Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway1, * E-mail:
University College London, UK.2
Albert-Ludwigs Universität Feiburg, Germany3
Technical University of Crete, Greece4
National Museum in Krakow, Poland5
Historic Royal Palaces, UK6
Trøndelag Folk Museum, Norway7

The MASTER project which will start in February 2003, aims to provide conservation staff in museums, historic buildings and archives with a new preventive conservation strategy for the protection of cultural property, based on an early warning system assessing the environmental impact on organic objects. An important part of the early warning system will be the development of an effect sensor for organic materials (EWO-sensor) assessing deterioration of organic materials indoor. The EWO-sensor will clarify the risk for decay in the museum during a short exposure and help the conservators to take action before damage to the object is observed. Current approaches to preventive conservation of organic objects will be reviewed through consultation with end-users. What is learned through this process will be used to design a preventive conservation strategy for organic materials, based on the early warning system.

Full poster (In PDF: 1025 KB)

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Visible Reflectance Spectroscopy for Monitoring Damage to Paint-Based Dosimeters

M. Odlyha1*, M. Bacci2, C. Cucci2, M. Picollo2, F. De Santis3, C. Vazzana3, I. Allegrini3
Birkbeck College, University of London, Gordon House, 29 Gordon Square, WC1H OPP London, UK1
Istituto di Fisica Applicata "Nello Carrara", CNR, Via Panciatichi 64, 50127 Firenze, Italy2
Istituto Inquinamento Atmosferico, CNR, Via Salaria Km 29.3, 00016 Monterotondo Stazione, Roma, Italy 3

* Contact E-mail:

Visible reflectance spectroscopy using fiber optics (FORS) is a non-invasive technique. Currently it is being used in the European Commission supported project, Microclimate Indoor Monitoring in Cultural Heritage Preservation, MIMIC, contract no. EVKV-CT-2000-00040. for analyzing color variations induced by the atmospheric pollutant (NO2) in paint-based dosimeters. These dosimeters were prepared to using egg tempera paint on Melinex support as described elsewhere (1). Previously the effect of various dosage levels of accelerated light ageing and a single exposure to pollutants (NOx,SO2) was measured and compared to that of natural ageing (2,3). In this paper the effect of various dosage levels of NO2 are measured. The objective was to evaluate the damage caused to works of art by indoor environments, in particular indoor pollutants. Different specific pigments and dyes were selected based on the experience in the previous study (1,2,3) to create these dosimeters that were first cured in the dark and subsequently exposed in aging chambers to low/medium dosage of atmospheric pollutant (NO2). A large Pyrex vessel closed with a removable leak-proof cap in which airflow, relative humidity, temperature and gas concentration can be controlled, was used for the aging tests. A pump attached to the aging chamber created a steady airflow through the vessel up to 10 l/min. A fan placed at the top of the vessel ensured good circulation of air within the chamber. The effect of exposure of the dosimeters was monitored evaluating the color and/or spectral variations of the dosimeters by the acquisition of their visible reflectance spectra recorded before and after aging. Moreover, a few dosimeters were placed in museums and galleries for a natural aging trial. In this communication preliminary results of a comparison between the dosimeter exposed at the Uffizi Gallery and those artificially aged are presented.


  1. O.F van den Brink,G.B.Eijkel and J.J.Boon, Dosimetry of paintings: determination of the degree of change of mseum-exposed test paintings by mass spectrometry, Thermochimica Acta 365 (2000) 1-25.
  2. M.Bacci,M.Picollo,S.Porcinai and B.Radicati, Evaluation of the museum environmental risk by means of tempera-painted dosimeters, Thermochimica Acta 365 (2000) 25-35.
  3. M.Odlyha, N.S.Cohen and G.M.Foster "Dosimetry of paintings : determination of the degree of chemical change in museum exposed test paintings (smalt tempera) by thermal analysis", Thermochimica Acta 365 (2000)35-44.

Full poster (In PDF: 205 KB)

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Formation of Acetates on Salt Contaminated Ceramics

Kirsten Linnow1, Lieve Halsberghe2 and Michael Steiger1
Universität Hamburg, Institut für Anorganische und Angewandte Chemie, D - 20146 Hamburg, Germany1
Ceramics conservation and restoration, 15, rue de Bivange, L-3395 Roeser, Luxembourg2

Serious damage of calcareous materials by acetic acid vapour attack has been observed on tiles in museum collections in Belgium. Formation of acetate salt efflorescence on calcareous artefacts is a widespread problem in wooden museum cabinets. Various precipitations from the mixed calcium-acetate-chloride-nitrate system have been observed. Solubility measurements were carried out and several different solids were identified by x-ray diffraction and ion analysis. Application of an equilibrium model allows for the calculation of the invariant points in this quaternary salt system, yielding the complete phase diagram, consisting of ten different solid phases, was constructed. The phase diagram is used to explain of the formation of calcium acetate containing efflorescences.

Full poster (In PDF: 320 KB)

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Characterization of Organic Volatile Compounds from Conservation Materials Using Headspace Solid-Phase Microextraction/Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

Agnès Lattuati-Derieux*, Sylvette Bonnassies-Termes, Bertrand Lavédrine
Centre de Recherches sur la Conservation des Documents Graphiques,CRCDG
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS
Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, MCC
Mus´um National d'Histoire naturelle, MNHN
36, rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 755231 Paris Cedex, France
* E-mail:

This present study deals with characterization of degradation products of conservation materials and more especially with cardboards used for conservation of art objects. The aim of this research is to elaborate and develop an efficient method to isolate and identify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by these materials in order to detect specific lignocellulosic degradation markers and other compounds allowing to better understand the degradation processes of these materials. These results will help to provide guidelines for the use of cellulose based materials conservation. This work will also contribute to a better knowledge of compounds responsible of characteristic odour of aged cardboards. Indeed, it is well known that the various materials used to produce cardboards emit volatiles that are potentially harmful to objects conserved within. Nevertheless, it seems that these VOCs have not been yet really investigated so far and little is known about them.
To lead this research, several archival quality cardboards widely used in conservation and low quality cardboards were artificially aged. These cardboards were analysed before and after the artificial aging.
Organic volatiles were extracted using headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) technique and the extracts were then identified using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).
The results from analyses of emissions from these cardboards are presented and preliminary conclusions are discussed. The analytes include many headspace constituents such as hydrocarbons, aldehydes, ketones, terpenes, others minor compounds and some compounds specific to each sample. Nevertheless, it appears difficult to evaluate now possible deteriorating effects of these markers on collections.
This work is ongoing (March 2003)

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SPME-GC/MS Analysis of Formic and Acetic Acid in Air
- Recent Improvements

Jens Glastrup & Morten Ryhl-Svendsen
Department of Conservation, National Museum of Denmark, PO Box 260, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.

Sampling of formic and acetic acid in air on Solid Phase Micro-Extraction (SPME) has previously been suggested for polyacrylate coated SPME needles (1). We have tested SPME with carboxen/polydimethylsiloxane coatings, which showed to have 40 times better sensitivity for acetic acid and 4.9 times better for formic acid, than polyacrylate. The use of SPME sampling is demonstrated by the measurement of the equilibrium concentration of formic and acetic acid, which was build up by emission from a MDF board in a chamber test.

(1) Ryhl-Svendsen & Glastrup, 2002, Acetic acid and formic acid concentrations in the museum environment measured by SPME-GC/MS, Atmospheric Environment, 36, 3909-3916.

Full poster (In PDF: 210 KB)

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The Surrounding Atmosphere of Exhibits - Damage Due to Volatile Organic Componds

O. Hahn, O. Wilke, S. Lange, O. Jann, D. Broedner, U. Schneider, K. Adam, W. Müller
Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Unter den Eichen 44-46, D-12203 Berlin, Germany.

Full poster (in HTML: 150 KB)

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Sulfur and Nitrogen in Collagen

Derek Bowden & Peter Brimblecombe
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Full poster (In PDF: 870 KB)

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Saline Dust and Potential for Damage

Young Hun Yoon, James Steward & Peter Brimblecombe
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Full poster (In PDF: 330 KB)

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Soiling Measurements: Outdoors and Indoors

Carlota Grossi, Young Hun Yoon & Peter Brimblecombe
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Full poster (In PDF: 380 KB)

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Surface Reactions of Nitrogen Dioxide

Peter Brimblecombe & Michele Raychaudhuri
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Full poster (In PDF: 220 KB)

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Index of presentations at IAQ 2003 Norwich meeting

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