Air quality monitoring in a museum for preventive conservation: Results of a three-year study in the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, Belgium

13 November 2019

Krupińska, B., Van Grieken, R., De Wael, K.

Microchemical Journal, 2013, 110, 350-360.

Through different research projects on air quality in museums, researcher and conservators try identifying various risks of air pollution on materials. The conclusions may be later translated into specific actions for a maximum preservation of the museum collections, a process known as preventive conservation. Air pollution is a particular problem in historical buildings such as museums, because they were not originally built to exhibit and protect art objects in a sustainable way. This article reports on the data and results that were obtained during 10 sampling campaigns, in the period between November 2008 and February 2012 in a museum in Antwerp (Belgium), i.e. Plantin-Moretus Museum/Print Room. Different pollutants were measured inside and outside the museum such as inorganic gases, particulate matter and black carbon. The report specifically addresses environmental factors that may be responsible for damage to the collections present in museums. Thanks to the knowledge about the current situation in the museum, accurate solutions regarding preventive conservation, in general, are suggested.