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Continuing Education

The Crystal uses seven large microclimate generators to control display cases in five galleries. This visit was to test the air distribution system.
Microclimate Inspection Tour- The ROM Crystal still under construction


MS242: Museum Microclimates
Dates: see Northern States Conservation website, or have a course especially taught for your institution
Instructor: Jerry Shiner

A microclimate is the environment immediately surrounding an artifact. Microclimates designed for optimum storage, display, or treatment conditions can be created and maintained in showcases, storage cabinets, rooms, or even in plastic bags. This course covers the basics of creating and maintaining microclimates, including discussions of suitable enclosures and appropriate means of controlling humidity, temperature, pollution, and oxygen. Learn what constitutes a microclimate, how to use silica gel and other environmental control materials, how to reduce internally generated pollutants, and important techniques for monitoring the microclimate you have created.

Course Outline:
1. Introduction to Microclimates and History of Microclimates
2. Components of a Microclimate
3. Microclimate Enclosures
4. Passive Environmental Controls
5. Active Environmental Controls, Pollution, Case Leakage
6. Monitoring a Microclimate

Participants in Museum Microclimates work through sections on their own. Materials and resources include online literature, slide lectures and dialog between students and the instructor through online forums.

Museum Microclimates runs four weeks. To reserve a spot in the course, please pay at http://www.collectioncare.org/tas/tas.html If you have trouble please contact Helen Alten at helen(at)collectioncare.org

The Instructor:
Jerry Shiner has been providing consultant services for environmental control of museum display and storage applications for almost twenty years. Mr. Shiner has extensive expertise in both active and passive methods of mitigating and controlling humidity, temperature, pollution, and oxygen levels for display and storage enclosures. His experience includes working with architects, engineers, and conservators to design both local and central systems for large museums. As founder of Keepsafe Microclimate Systems he has provided hundreds of
active and passive solutions for low oxygen treatment and storage (anoxia), and showcase humidity and temperature control. Mr. Shiner is author of numerous articles on microclimate storage and display. His clients include
museums in the US and Europe.

From students:
"Thank you so much for such an eye opening class! Your sense of humor made it fun even when I started to feel overwhelmed. I particularly liked the final chapter that wrapped up the course nicely. Thank you for the impromptu phone conversation. Your suggestions and insights were much appreciated."

"The readings really opened my eyes to a completely new topic that is not covered very much in the world of registrars, curators and collection managers. It was so helpful being able to ask specific questions and get clear answers."

"I like the on-line format because it is economical and allows museum workers the opportunity to obtain professional development without having to pay for travel. This may be my only outlet for professional development and interaction with instructors for the near future because all travel has been cancelled."

"The bonus of the class for me was familiarizing me with the vocabulary of the technology. I do not think that I would attempt to make decisions on the type of technology to use within my museum but I do feel more comfortable in having discussions with engineers and designers."

Course Outline in Detail:
This course has been broken into seven sections for teaching via the Internet or four lessons (when presented to a group).  Each section includes lectures, assigned readings, quizzes, and a group discussion.

Lesson 1 - An Introduction to Microclimates
- A Brief History of Microclimates
- The Constituents of a Microclimate
- Museum Microclimate Parameters
- Common Museum Microclimate Solutions

Lesson 2 - Passive Environmental Control
- The Advantages of Passive Control
- Self Buffering Applications
- Moisture Content vs Case Volume
- Silica Gel
- Types of Silica Gel
- Using Silica Gel
- Temperature and Relative Humidity
- Temperature and Pollution
- Controlling Temperature

Lesson 3 - Active Environmental Control, Pollution, Case Leakage
- Best Applications for Active Microclimate Control
- How Active Controls Work
- Local vs Remote Active Controls
- Pollution in Display and Storage
- Effect, Causes, Control

Lesson 4 - Monitoring A Microclimate, Case Leakage, Low Oxygen Environments (Anoxia)
- Case Leakage Testing
- Monitoring a Microclimate
- Monitoring Hardware & Software
- Creating Low Oxygen Environments
- Using Anoxia for Prophylaxis and Insect Infestations
- Review

As a seven section offering:

1. Course Introduction

2. Components of a Microclimate

3. Microclimate Enclosures

4. Passive Environmental Controls

5. Active Environmental Controls

6. Monitoring a Microclimate

7. Why Use a Microclimate Approach?