The Smithsonian Institution
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Proceedings of the Smithsonian Institution Summit on the Museum Preservation Environment

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posted on 2019-09-10, 20:35 authored by Sarah Stauderman, William G. Tompkins
This publication presents the proceedings of the Summit on the Museum Preservation Environment, held at the Smithsonian Institution in March 2013. The purpose of the summit was to start a conversation over a gap in collections management policy at the Smithsonian, namely, that Smithsonian collections and facilities management staff desire a written standard and best practices document for the management of environments in spaces where collections are housed. They acknowledged that the controlled environments of many of the Smithsonian’s collections were based on commonly held notions of environmental “standards” (i.e., 70°F/45% RH with ± variations) that are at odds with current and even historical research findings and not understood by stakeholders to be the final and best preservation environment for all collections. They further recognized that establishing environments for long-term preservation of collections must take into account mandated and socially responsible energy savings and sustainability goals. Two themes emerged from the discussions and are documented in this volume. One is the importance of collaboration in establishing and maintaining preservation environments because no single discipline has the full perspective and responsibility. The other is the need to separate standards based on urban legend or tradition from evidence-based decision making.



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Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian Institution Archives; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Smithsonian National Collections Program; Smithsonian Office of Facilities Engineering and Operations; Office of the Under Secretary for Collections and Interdisciplinary Support