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Monday, May 16 • 10:30am - 11:00am
(Sustainability) Sustainable Preservation on a Small Island – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Passive and Mechanized Environments

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In 2013 the Monhegan Historical and Cultural Museum Association received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections (SCHC) Planning Grant to develop a strategy for dealing with the threat associated with high relative humidity and moisture levels to its collections and historic buildings (three of which are on the National Register). The Museum, located on Monhegan Island, ten miles off the coast of Maine, also needed to develop a strategy for the sustainable operation of its collections storage vaults due to prohibitively high energy costs on the island (fuel costs are double the price on the mainland, and electricity costs are more than 500% higher than mainland prices). This session will examine and describe the work of the interdisciplinary project team, including the museum staff, consultants in architectural preservation, objects conservation, and sustainable preservation environments, and HVAC design consultants, to develop holistic preservation plans for the historic and modern structures on site. The team used environmental data from both storage and exhibit environments, as well as data from the mechanical systems in the storage vaults, to analyze initial environmental performance, identify and confirm environmental threats, and propose, test, and assess initial experiments for future strategies. The resulting proposed strategies were a blend of passive and active environmental control, ranging from period-appropriate repairs to historic envelopes and re-routing of runoff water on the site to operational adjustments and improvements to mechanical system controls. The final report for the study provided the basis for a successful 2015 NEH SCHC Implementation Grant proposal. Beyond the significance to sustainable preservation on site, Monhegan’s experience and approach serve as an illustrative case study on the potential for passive environmental techniques in historic structures, the prioritization and decision-making process for storage of cultural and artistic holdings at a small institution, and the impact (and necessity) of interdisciplinary cooperation when formulating preservation strategies that impact the institution at a macro-level.

avatar for Ronald Harvey

Ronald Harvey

Principal/Conservator, Tuckerbrook Conservation LLC
Ron Harvey began his private practice in 1990. He is involved in a wide range of conservation consultation with museums including storage, environment, lighting and treatment of objects both nationally and internationally. Prior to private practice he completed an MFA in sculpture... Read More →
avatar for Jeremy Linden

Jeremy Linden

Principal/Owner, Linden Preservation
Jeremy Linden has been the Principal/Owner of Linden Preservation Services, Inc., since 2017. He is an active educator and consultant with two decades of experience in the cultural heritage field, the last eight years of which have been focused on enhancing preservation environments... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Pye

Jennifer Pye

Chief Curator, Monhegan Museum
Jennifer Pye has been part of the curatorial staff of the Monhegan Museum of Art and History on Monhegan Island, Maine since 2002. With a focus on collections organization and management, Jennifer tries to balance the preservation needs of the museum’s collections against the expense... Read More →

Monday May 16, 2016 10:30am - 11:00am EDT
Room 516 AB