Environmental Monitoring Equipment Loans Program


Managing the museum environment appropriately can reduce risks to your collection. Poorly controlled relative humidity, temperature, light or UV levels may damage artifacts and art objects. To provide and maintain good environmental conditions for your collection, you need accurate information on the conditions in your museum. Collecting data by monitoring the environment helps to: identify risks to collections, evaluate the extent and urgency of any particular problem, and support proposals for improvements.

The Preservation Services Division of the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) loans equipment to help museums and galleries monitor their environments for only the cost of shipping the instruments to and from CCI.

Equipment Available for Loan

The following instruments can be loaned from CCI for 30 days:

  1. Elsec environmental monitors for taking spot-measurements of the four most important environmental factors:
    • relative humidity
    • temperature
    • illumination level
    • ultraviolet radiation level
  2. Motor-driven psychrometers for calibrating hygrothermographs and checking the accuracy of electronic meters.

CCI will also lend a suite of sample data loggers and meters to educational institutions and provincial museum associations for preventive conservation training.

CCI will no longer be loaning long-term data monitoring equipment (hygrothermographs or data loggers) since environmental monitoring should be a routine part of ongoing collection care and the cost of appropriate instruments is now within reach of most heritage institutions.

Advice on Purchase and Use of Monitoring Equipment

If you are considering purchasing your own monitoring equipment, CCI can provide you with a list of equipment, distributors and approximate prices.

Correct interpretation of environmental data is essential to properly assess environmental risks to collections. We can provide assistance with graphing your data for easy interpretation or for submission with applications where this information is required, such as facility evaluations for the Movable Cultural Property (MCP) or Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Programs.

How to Borrow Monitoring Equipment from CCI

To borrow environmental monitoring equipment from CCI, telephone or write to:

Preservation Services
Canadian Conservation Institute
1030 Innes Road
Ottawa ON K1B-4S7
Tel.: 613-998-3721
Fax: 613-998-4721
E-mail: cci-icc.services@pch.gc.ca

You will receive a loan agreement form that sets out the terms and conditions of the loan. Shipping of the equipment to the borrowing institution and back to CCI is the responsibility of the borrowing institution.

Further Reading

Explore the following CCI web pages for more information on the role of monitoring equipment in preventive conservation:

  1. Agent of Deterioration: Incorrect Relative Humidity
  2. Agent of Deterioration: Incorrect Temperature
  3. Agent of Deterioration: Light, Ultraviolet and Infrared
  4. Environmental Guidelines for Museums