Gawain WeaverGawain Weaver: Conservation and Consulting Services in the Care of Historic and Fine Art Photographs

Successful Conservation in the Tropics

March 29, 2009

FijiPlease excuse my absence from the office in March. I have just returned from a 3-week trip to a private island in Fiji (I highly recommend it!). During this time I completed an environmental survey for a collection of art and other artifacts, as there was concern about the long-term effect of the hot and humid climate in both air-conditioned and other buildings with only ventilation or circulating fans.

The usual priorities of keeping the environment cool and dry still applied, but in a very different way! Success in the tropics is measured largely by the ability to keep artifacts mold-free, while the milder aging caused by slightly elevated temperatures or by a relative humidity between 50 and 65% are simply accepted as a consequence of the tropical climate.

Jim Reilly of IPI is often quoted as saying that "Geography is preservation," and after examining thousands of objects in a tropical environment this month, I couldn't agree more.

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