Happy Belated Fourth!
Working at Independence this week was exciting for obvious historical reasons. The park was buzzing with visitors and classic Philadelphia events such as Free Hoagie Day as INDE staff set up for the weekend festivities at Independence Hall. While INDE prepared for the holiday, I continued to work behind the scenes.
I’m about halfway done with the inventory and cleaning in the latest storage area. The process remains about the same, though there are some concerns regarding the environmental controls within the Second Bank, particularly in this storage room. Historic buildings such as the Second Bank are particularly difficult to outfit with modern heating and cooling systems due to their structural components, so historic building managers do the best they can with that concern. For those of you who live in Philadelphia, you know that the humidity can be pretty high. These high humidity rates are being felt in the storage areas, so it has been a concern.
In rooms that contain artifact collections, it’s essential to a museum’s function to monitor environmental factors such as humidity and temperature. If the humidity and/or temperature are too high or too low for extended periods of time, it can cause significant damage to objects. This is especially a risk in the storage room because the objects are not sealed in air-tight cabinets as in the previous room. Thus, they are more susceptible to the fluctuations in humidity.
Devices terms “HOBOs” monitor temperature and humidity rates over extended periods of time. They look something like this: