PMG Environmental Standards and Guidelines for Storage
In progress: Seeking additional comments and images to develop this section
Photographic Materials Conservation Catalog
Environmental Standards and Guidelines for Storage of Photographic Materials
Please also see AIC's Main Category Environmental Guidelines
Date initiated: September 2009
Contributors: Luisa Casella, Stephanie Watkins
The Photographic Materials Conservation Catalog is a publication of the Photographic Materials Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. The Photographic Materials Conservation Catalog is published as a convenience for the members of the Photographic Materials Group. Publication does not endorse nor recommend any treatments, methods, or techniques described herein.
- 1 Purpose of Environmental and Storage Guidelines
- 2 Storage Environment Factors to Consider
- 3 Effects of Storage on Photographic Materials
- 4 Standards, Guidelines and Recommendations
- 5 Equipment and Materials
- 6 Storage Techniques for Photographic Materials
- 7 References
Purpose of Environmental and Storage Guidelines
- Identify the variety of complex and interwoven forces that effect change, and thus, the preservation of photographic materials.
- Utilize the most recent information to maximize the chemical and physical stability of all photographic materials while in storage.
- Minimize changes in the image, binder, and support from agents of change, such as light exposure, temperature (heat, freeze-thaw cycles, cool storage, cold storage), humidity, pollution, storage container or collection material off-gassing, or any other environmental or storage related factors.
Storage Environment Factors to Consider
Effects of Storage on Photographic Materials
Standards, Guidelines and Recommendations
Cool and Cold Storage
- Art Institute of Chicago (IL, USA):
- Amon Carter Museum of American Art (TX, USA): Cool is 60°F, 40% RH, Cold is 20°F, 30% RH, and a vestibule for acclimatizing photographs between the two is 40°F, 35% RH (all temperatures ±3°F) (Panadero, 2019).
- Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin (TX, USA) (nitrate and acetate film vault):
- Indiana Historical Society (IL, USA): Temperature and RH set points are 50°F and 35% RH.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (TX, USA):
- NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) (MD, USA):
Equipment and Materials
Storage Techniques for Photographic Materials
- Connecting to Collections Care (C2C). Dynamic, constantly changing FAIC online community with numerous resource links for care of photographic materials.
- Elkin, Lisa and Christopher A. Norris 2019. Preservation Conservation: Collection Storage. Joint publication of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections; American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works; Smithsonian Institution; The George Washington University Museum Studies Program.
- Image Permanence Institute. Collections environmental monitoring, engineering solutions, Object temperature and humidity recommendations (in PEM2 monitoring software), among other services and information.
- STASHc (Storage Techniques for Art, Science and History Collections). Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://stashc.com/.
Photographic Materials Specific
- Panadero, Laura. 2019 (June 12). Blog on presentation of Amon Carter Museum of American Art 3-year cold storage expansion project, Fernanda Valverde. American Institute for Conservation 47th annual meeting (2019).
(>>>Editor note: needs a search for cool and cold storage; re: Topics, JAIC, IIC, WAAC, community forum, etc.)