Programs & Exhibitions

Joan GardnerConservation is an intrinsic part of exhibits.

The next time you walk through the galleries, notice how some colored items have lower light levels. This reduces color alterations and fading. Notice how different the environmental conditions are in different galleries—the temperature and relative humidity are set to be stable throughout the year, preserving the collections. Notice the little monitors that tell conservators what might be changing. We monitor for relative humidity, temperature, light, and pollutants.

Conservators set exhibit standards for everything from environmental conditions to the materials used to construct exhibit cases. Many materials create acidic or chemical fumes as they deteriorate. Conservators reduce this internal pollution by testing materials prior to use in exhibits.

High light levels cause fading and weakening of many materials. We set exhibit light levels to reduce damage while still allowing visitors to view the items. These standards help to preserve the collection. Blue wool fade cards help us monitor items on exhibit, so we can determine when specimens need to be removed before damage occurs.