Ultraviolet (UV) light, illuminance, temperature and humidity are all very harmful factors in a museum or an archival institution. These factors can all negatively affect the quality and longevity of a piece of art or artifact if the piece is exposed to extremes for too long. Data loggers that measure/monitor critical parameters and communicate with a base unit or data collectors to alert caretakers and stakeholders can protect these precious objects.
For example, the RTR-574 and high precision RTR-574-S dataloggers from TandD U.S. measure UV light, illuminance, temperature and humidity based on specific settings created by the user. When the environment falls outside of the acceptable range, it will alert the user that there may be an issue within the storing institution or during transportation. The dataloggers communicate with USB, an RS-232C serial interface or short-range wireless. With a transmission range up to 150 meters (500 ft) if direct and unobstructed, the wireless communications conform to FCC Part15 Section247 / IC RSS-210 with a frequency range of 902 to 928MHz and ETSI EN 300 220 with a frequency range of 869.7 to 870MHz.
Steve Knuth, president at TandD U.S., offers a couple of tips on how to maximize artifact and art safety and longevity with these data loggers. The first tip is about positioning the data logger to allow the sensors to send and receive the most accurate sensor data. Knuth says, “When monitoring a piece of art, the data logger’s sensor needs to be positioned in a way that allows it to experience the same environment as the art. For instance, if you set the data logger behind the art so it is out of view of patrons, ensure that the sensor is positioned on the wall adjacent to the art, so it experiences the same level of UV light and illuminance.”
The second tip involves setting alerts to ensure quick action in the case of light disruption or environmental changes. For the quickest reaction, Knuth suggests, “Setting your notification alerts conservatively to allow for ample time to react to a disruptive environmental change.”