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Thursday, May 29 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
(Collection Care Session) Tracking Cumulative Light Exposure Using The Museum System

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In June 2013, the Saint Louis Art Museum opened the East Building, a new wing addition designed by David Chipperfield. The LEED Gold building features skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows and adds 21 new galleries for both temporary exhibitions and permanent collection works. The use of daylight as the primary illuminant in many of these new galleries spurred a shift from using instantaneous light level limits measured in footcandles to a cumulative exposure model using kilofootcandle-hours per year. The Conservation Department established new cumulative exposure guidelines for collections materials and worked with projections from the building’s lighting designers to develop an estimate of monthly light exposure based on location. Through collaboration with the museum’s TMS administrator, TMS was adapted to create a system for tracking light exposure over time. Fields in the Conservation Module of TMS were re-purposed to accommodate new information needed to determine overall exposure, and reference documents were added as plug-ins for easy access. Additionally, a flag system was created to alert conservators, registrars, and curators of pieces that have received excess exposure. Reports for light exposure were developed to present both the exhibition history and cumulative light exposure for a specific work and the exposure status of groups of objects in the museum. The cumulative exposure model allows for increased flexibility of display parameters, including instantaneous light levels, while emphasizing the need for preventative conservation. This paper will discuss the shift to a cumulative exposure model, the challenges and benefits of working with TMS, and the progress achieved since implementation.


Ella Rothgangel

Acting Head of Registration, Saint Louis Art Museum
avatar for Claire Walker

Claire Walker

Assistant Painting Conservator, Saint Louis Art Museum
Claire Walker is the Assistant Painting Conservator at the Saint Louis Art Museum. She earned her B.F.A in Painting at Washington University in St. Louis in 2007 and completed her Masters in Art Conservation and Certificate of Advanced Study at Buffalo State College in 2010. She has... Read More →

Thursday May 29, 2014 3:00pm - 3:30pm PDT
Garden Room