Monitoring for Gaseous Pollutants in Museum Environments

Cecily M. Grzywacz


188 pages

PDF file size: 12.2 MB


Cultural property inside museums—textiles and works of art on paper and pigments and leather bindings, for example—can be threatened by outdoor pollutants, such as automobile exhaust fumes, and by pollutants generated from indoor sources, such as gases from cleaning products. Indoor-generated pollutants generally pose the greatest threat to artifacts because of their continuous and close proximity.

The focus of this volume, based on the Getty Trust Museum Monitoring Project as well as case studies, is environmental monitoring for common gaseous pollutants, with emphasis on passive sampling. The volume begins with an overview of the history and nature of pollutants of concern to museums and a discussion of the challenges facing scientists, conservators, and collections managers seeking to develop target pollutant guidelines to protect cultural property. Subsequent chapters address passive sampling, the planning and conducting of an air quality monitoring program, and the interpretation of results and mitigation considerations. The appendix is a comprehensive compilation of the major gaseous pollutants encountered in museums, their sources, and the at-risk materials.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1: Gaseous Pollutants in Museum Environments: Overview
  • Chapter 2: The Effects of Gaseous Pollutants on Objects
  • Chapter 3: Introduction to Passive Sampling
  • Chapter 4: Passive Sampling Devices
  • Chapter 5: Planning and Conducting an Air Quality Monitoring Program
  • Chapter 6: Interpreting Results and Mitigation Considerations
  • Chapter 7: The J. Paul Getty Museum Monitoring Program, 1996-1998
  • Appendixes
    • 1. Major Gaseous Pollutants of Concern to Museums, Their Sources, and At-Risk Materials
    • 2. Current Target Levels for Key Gaseous Pollutants in Museums
    • 3. Materials Testing
    • 4. Protocols for Preparing and Analyzing Passive Sampling Devices for Organic Carbonyl Pollutants
  • References
  • Selected Bibliography on Pollutant Damage to Collections and Materials

About the Authors

Cecily M. Grzywacz is a scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute.