Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Developing a Museum-wide IT compatible environmental monitoring system

Staff: R.E. Child and Penny Hill

Monitoring the environmental conditions of temperature and humidity within galleries and showcases is a primary function in preventive conservation. Formerly, this was done manually or with clockwork thermohygrographs, with the disadvantages that the former gave one-time spot measurements and the latter needed frequent recalibration. In 1999, a telemetric (wireless) system of sensors was installed in the Archaeology galleries. These signals could be read by a receiver attached to a PC. This gave continuous readings of the environmental conditions within the gallery and had alarm settings when conditions went out of specified limits.

We are now trialling an advanced form of telemetric monitoring whereby the signals from sensors are sent via a local IP socket to the Museum's intranet. The readings can therefore by accessed by any authorized person (such as relevant conservators, curators, building maintenance etc). The system has now been trialled successfully in the National Waterfront Museum Swansea and has been rolled out to the new Archaeology displays at National Museum Cardiff. Our hope is that it will eventually be available in display cases at all our sites.