Collections and libraries in historic buildings are often particularly vulnerable to environmental deterioration because of the uncontrolled nature of the space in which they are displayed. Therefore, understanding and controlling the microclimate within the building, using either passive or active approaches, is critical to successful long term conservation. Common deteriogens include visible light, UV, humidity, temperature as well as dust and pollution.
Tobit Curteis Associates works with historic houses, museums, churches, universities and cathedrals investigating causes of deterioration and developing environmental controls to support conservation. We also work with clients developing displays or exhibitions from small family collections with limited available controls to major cathedral and museums with internationally significant collections and complex environmental controls and conservation management requirements.
While collections in historic buildings are often on open display, sensitive artefacts are sometimes displayed in cases which provide an additional level of environmental protection. However, unlike in purpose built museums, the background conditions in historic buildings are often unstable and aggressive, which reduces case efficacy and the protection offered to the artefact. In order to develop safe and effective exhibitions in these more complex and demanding spaces, we work closely with architects, exhibition designers, curators, librarians and conservators investigating the environmental performance of exhibition spaces and developing systems to ensure that risks are controlled and that sensitive artefacts can be safely displayed in historic buildings.