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Saturday, May 31 • 10:50am - 11:10am
(Collection Care + HVAC Session) Sustaining Collections: Putting Theory into Practice

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In September of 2012, Winterthur received a grant from NEH’s Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections, the culmination of a year of intensive planning involving Winterthur’s Conservation and Facilities Departments, Limbach Engineering & Design Services and the Image Permanence Institute. The Winterthur Museum had undertaken several efforts over the last decade to develop energy saving protocols, but was consistently frustrated by the inability of monitoring systems to provide reliable real-time environmental information that would insure collection safety. The preparatory year involved an extensive general survey of Winterthur’s HVAC systems undertaken by Limbach that resulted in a proposal with specific mechanical, monitoring and control upgrades. Due to the size of the project, Winterthur funded most of the mechanical upgrades and turned to NEH to help fund the monitoring and control segments. Our ambitious NEH proposal committed Winterthur to:

  • Survey, document and upgrade antiquated monitoring and control systems throughout three major collection buildings.

  • Make real-time data and controls on all mechanical system components available wirelessly to all networked staff 24/7.

  • Use the real-time wired and wireless environmental data automatically loaded into IPI’s e-Climate Notebook to effectively monitor environmental conditions in collection areas making data available to all networked staff 24/7.

  • Use the mechanical and environmental data collected to develop significant energy saving protocols that also maintained collection areas within environmental parameters that would not compromise long-term preservation.

As we near the end of the project, AIC provides an opportunity to present preliminary findings, results and challenges from the perspective of the four major participants: Lois Olcott Price, Director of Conservation, John Castle, Director of Facilities, Limbach, and Jim Reilly, Director of IPI. The interactive format of panel presentations followed by discussion will allow other institutions considering similar, highly beneficial projects, to benefit from Winterthur’s experience in both planning and implementation. Major findings include:

  • The labor-intensive HVAC system survey revealed many surprises to both facilities and conservation staff and explained issues noted by staff in the past. Limbach has commonly found similar unidentified but critical issues in other conscientious and well-maintained institutions.

  • The importance of an accurate real-time monitoring and control system for museum systems that, with chillers and reheats, is inherently highly inefficient without active, real-time control strategies.

  • Collection staff and other participants must learn each other’s language and collaborate closely to develop effective energy saving protocols that also insure the safety of the collection. Inevitable “trade-off” decisions must be made jointly.

  • The project should NOT depend upon pre-set environmental parameters or use them as project goals.

With energy savings projected at over 20%, this project has the potential to significantly reduce Winterthur’s carbon footprint and allow resources to be used for other mission critical activities that enhance its ability to improve collection access and deliver meaningful exhibits and programs to its audience as well as to protect its collections.

avatar for John Castle

John Castle

Director, Facilities Services, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
John W. Castle is Director of Facility Services at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, where he manages the facilities of the 1,000 acre estate including museum and collection buildings, 150 historic structures, wastewater treatment, gas, electric and potable water systems, as well... Read More →
avatar for Lois Olcott Price

Lois Olcott Price

Adjunct Senior Conservator, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Lois Olcott Price is the retired Director of Conservation for the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. She graduated from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Art Conservation Program (WUDPAC) where she majored in paper conservation and interned at the Library of Congress. She served... Read More →

James Reilly

Founder and Director, Image Permanence Institute
James M. Reilly is the founder and director of IPI. He has made important contributions to image preservation, environmental management, and sustainable preservation practices. During its tenure, Jim was Co-director of the Advanced Residency Program in Photographic Conservation, a... Read More →
avatar for Don K. Rowe

Don K. Rowe

President, Green Energy Controls

Tom Sherwood

Senior Account Manager, Limbach Company
Thomas A. Sherwood is Senior Account Manager, Limbach Company, Philadelphia Branch where he has extensive experience in HVAC systems with a specialization in HVAC mechanical systems efficiency analysis and improvement measures and in energy management systems, integration, and advanced... Read More →

Saturday May 31, 2014 10:50am - 11:10am PDT
Pacific Concourse D-E