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Monday, May 16 • 11:00am - 11:30am
(Sustainability) Achieving Competing Goals: Implementing Energy Efficient Cold Storage

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Current industry standards indicate that audio-visual film materials should be stored in a range of 36°F to 70°F and 20-50% relative humidity (International Standards Organization); however, these ranges are often unattainable and not sustainable in the long-term for organizations. These ranges do not take into consideration the climate of the storage area (e.g. outdoor conditions) or the costs to maintain these conditions in the long-term. In 2012, NEH awarded a Sustaining Cultural Heritage Planning grant to the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) to conduct an interdisciplinary study that balanced issues of long-term preservation for film materials. These issues included preservation metrics, potential energy use, cost for maintenance, as well as investment cost for any recommended system or building upgrades. At the conclusion of the study in 2014, the interdisciplinary team reduced the broader set of options into a cohesive set of recommendations that include building improvements and specific upgrades of equipment. In all, the bundle of strategies will help MNHS increase the film collections Preservation Index (PI), Image Permanence Institute’s measure of the “decay rate of vulnerable organic materials” in different temperature and relative humidity conditions, while also decreasing energy use and operating costs. The study estimated an increase to the PI by 2-4 times from 100 years to a range of 200 - 400 years allowing for seasonal fluctuations. Further, a subset of critical film material will increase its PI from 100 years to 900 years. In addition to improving the long-range preservation for film collections, there is also an anticipated savings of $16,600 in energy costs per year as compared to baseline adaptations of the existing system. Since a presentation at AIC 2015, MNHS has received an Implementation Grant from the NEH Sustaining Cultural Heritage program. The goal of this second grant is to implement and test the results of the earlier study, as well as continue the collaborative process with a range of staff from collections, conservation, facilities, risk management, and sustainability, and external experts in museum sustainability, archival architecture, film preservation, and building mechanical systems. One of the significant challenges presented during this continued presentation is the design and planning for temporary storage, moving logistics, and access during the construction period. As such, this session will cover (1) the importance of interdisciplinary and collaborative processes, (2) the factors in logistics planning for temporary collections cold storage, and (3) the key factors to balancing preservation and sustainability. While the study focused on the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections storage, these findings have significance for many organizations. The range of strategies examined included low capital investment cost options, such as reconfiguration of the collections by material type and the impact of passive mechanical interventions. The cost-benefit analysis of these options will provide a start for organizations to find their own path in developing energy-efficient collections storage. Further, the interdisciplinary processes utilized by the study were essential in arriving at the final solution as well as planning for implementation.

avatar for Thomas J. Braun

Thomas J. Braun

Head of Conservation and Senior Objects Conservator, Minnesota Historical Society
Thomas J. Braun is the Head of Conservation and the Senior Objects Conservator at the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS). Tom holds a BA in Art History from the University of Minnesota, an MA in Art History from Tufts University, and an MS in Art Conservation from the Winterthur/University... 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 →

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