JAIC , Volume 39, Number 1, Article 7 (pp. to )
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC , Volume 39, Number 1, Article 7 (pp. to )

ONE RESPONSE TO A COLLECTION-WIDE MOLD OUTBREAK: HOW BAD CAN IT BE—HOW GOOD CAN IT GET?

DIANA HOBART DICUS



1 1. INTRODUCTION


1.1 1.1 THE BUILDING

In 1987, the Detroit Historical Museum (DHM) began construction to retrofit a warehouse building on the Historic Fort Wayne grounds, about 5 miles from the main museum, to serve as an off-site collection storage area for the Detroit Historical Museum. The mechanical system for the retrofitted storage area was installed in 1988. It includes a McQuay chiller, two boilers providing steam for heating and humidification, four air handlers with preheat and cooling coils (no reheat coils), humidification, prefilters, and 24 in. bag filters with a 90% efficiency to particles larger than 1 m, acoustical lining on all supply ductwork, and pneumatic controls. Three air handlers service the storage area; the fourth services the offices, laboratory, and library. At the time of installation, the decision was made to eliminate the reheat coils from the mechanical system (Weintraub 1996).

Upon completion of the building retrofit in 1989, the mechanical system was calibrated and operated for about a year with no collections in the storage area. Although recording hygrothermograph records indicated periods of high relative humidity in the building during this test period, the interior environment and climate control were judged to be acceptable.


1.2 1.2 COLLECTIONS

Collections were moved into the new Collection Resource Center in 1990. Over time, artifacts were unpacked and placed on open metal shelving. Costume was hung on open racks. Many artifacts remained in the moving boxes, which were placed on open metal shelving. Some artifacts were unpacked, housed in pH-neutral, paper-based storage boxes, and placed on open metal shelving. A number of artifacts were unpacked and placed in a limited quantity of metal map drawer units and closed metal cabinets. Some boxes and artifacts were stored directly on the storage area concrete floor.


1.3 1.3 STAFFING

In 1992 the Detroit Historical Museum experienced a major budget reduction, resulting in a 62% reduction in collection and curatorial staff at the Collection Resource Center. The remaining staff worked under difficult circumstances to maintain the level of collection work with limited personnel and financial resources.