VIGIL+ wireless open/closed sensors provide information on the status of doors, windows, cabinets, etc. Knowing if doors or windows are open is an important feature. Cabinets that contain secure items may also need to be monitored.
IR sensors are designed to locate movement even in completely dark environments, perfect for additional after-hours security.
These sensors are ideal for areas that need to allow viewing platforms or areas to members of the public and to protect ‘no go’ boundaries. Often these areas are simply protected with a perimeter rope and exhibition security staff are employed to ensure no one intrudes beyond the permitted area.
By installing IR beams and pressure pads, any vulnerable area can be monitored with ease. Subtle alerts can be discretely sent to security staff within the vicinity. This ensures public viewing of exhibits remain calm and members of the public are not unduly panicked while enjoying their visit.
Water ingress has the ability to cause damage in a matter of seconds. Whether it is water leaks from overhead pipework or leaking Air Conditioning (AC) units, all have the ability to cause substantial damage.
Objects within the affected area can be instantly destroyed or waterlogged from the leak. Items that are then incorrectly dried can lead to corrosion, mould to occur or end up warping or falling apart.
The drying out process for water damaged areas is prolonged too. Public areas may be cordoned off for substantial periods of time. If using heated extractor fans to assist, this often causes health and safety issues to be considered and as a consequence restrict viewing or working areas.
Older properties, especially ones that are Grade listed or protected, often have old pipework, leaky roofs and boiler rooms that may need monitoring. By installing VIGIL+ long range wire free water sensors in areas of concern means any unseen leaks can be addressed. Reaction to a water alert can get the maintenance team on the scene in time to deal with the issue and take remedial action long before the incident causes problems.
Equally worrying is natural flood. We live in an era whereby unusual weather patterns can quickly cause flash floods. It is easy for a flash downpour to cause local flooding or entrapment of water in ducts and guttering around buildings.
Spook has an array of wireless water sensors designed for detecting water ingress immediately.
Galleries and viewing areas are often lit to set the appropriate mood, there are usually special requirements to ensure images, pictures and fabrics remain pristine. VIGIL+ wireless light meters are a perfect solution to track LUX to help avoid accidental lighting mistakes.
Light needs to be managed, whether it is with automatic dimmers or by the more conventional method of staff entering an area to close blinds to prevent sun damage.
Because VIGIL+ retains sensor readings in perpetuity, reports can be produced to study long-term trend data. Analysis can be gained to predict light patterns at different times of day, season or even year. By understanding the cyclical changes to light means planning and building ‘LUX’ routines is achievable.
Many heritage organisations have areas that are sensitive to light. Sometimes they have a specified "Light Budget." VIGIL+ wireless light sensors are ideal for tracking and managing "Lux Hours”.
VIGIL+ temperature sensors come in a few options. Ambient temperature sensors are compact and sealed in the body of the sensor. Whereas there are temperature probe options that are available with a lead cable of differing lengths. Caution: The temperature sensors are not water proof so for areas that require water resistance either select a sensor in a water proof housing or consider the VIGIL+ thermo coupler option.
The Association of Independent Museums (AIM) highlights the importance of maintaining stable temperatures. Fluctuating temperatures cause greater damage to the collections than achieving a constant level.
Heritage organisations sometimes struggle between keeping temperatures low for exhibited collections while the exhibition spaces are generally heated to accommodate members of the public. Typical temperature ranges for human comfort levels is around 17-21°C. However, storage of items can be kept at lower temperatures to slow down degradation.
VIGIL+ humidity sensors measure the Relative Humidity (RH) in an area.
AIM recommends RH to be maintained as closely as possible within a 20% variance. This allows for daily and annual seasonal changes to be taken into account.
Commonly used bands are 40%-60% or 45%-65%. However, acceptable levels may vary depending on what is achievable locally and that which best suits the needs of the particular items in the heritage collections. Daily RH fluctuations tend to be more damaging than constant levels. Even seasonal changes can have a detrimental effect.
However, humidity levels in museums and art galleries are notoriously difficult to maintain consistently. The constant influx of people through a room will cause the temperature and humidity to fluctuate. One minute a room may be full of visitors and the next it is empty.
Picture frames shrinking, textiles becoming brittle, paint on canvas flaking and furniture joints loosening are all symptoms of a dry atmosphere. When these effects occur in a museum or art gallery the results can be catastrophic.
Works of art are made from a wide range of substances and are often organic, e.g. wood, cotton, paper, bone, ivory, leather and parchment. All of these materials are hygroscopic, that is they are affected by the moisture content in the surrounding air. If the environment they are situated in is dry they will lose moisture to the atmosphere. If it is too damp they will gain moisture.
This change can cause materials to swell or contract with resulting damage. In order to preserve a work of art in its original state, it should be kept in an environment that has stable, optimum humidity. This will maintain a balanced equilibrium between the exhibit and the atmosphere, preventing any moisture loss or gain and avoiding costly repairs.
|Categories of objects||Examples||Maximum visible light|
|Sensitive collections||Textiles, photographs, paperwork, watercolours, organic materials, etc||50 lux|
|Less sensitive collections||Oil paintings, wood, leather, acrylic, furniture, etc||150 lux|
|Least sensitive collections||Metal, ceramics, stone, glass, etc||300 lux|
Humidity and temperature are inextricably linked. That’s why VIGIL+’s dual humidity and temperature sensors are ideal to monitor for both in a single, unobtrusive unit.
If the temperature increases in a room, the humidity level will drop if water is not artificially added. This is due to the fact that cold air holds less water than warm air. This means that dry air is largely a seasonal problem. As heating systems are turned on, indoor humidity levels drop. However, in a museum environment even minor fluctuations in humidity, such as when lights are turned on or off in a display cabinet, can cause damage over time.
Changes in the moisture content of an exhibit may have very visible effects such as materials splitting or cracking. These effects may be microscopic to start off with but over time will become more obvious. As things become older they will become more brittle and fragile. The older they are the less able they become to re-adjust their internal moisture. Different materials are affected by moisture loss in different ways.
Paintings are made up of several layers. These layers will react to moisture loss in different ways and move accordingly. This can cause them to separate resulting in blistering and flaking of the paint layer. Canvas is often considered to be less susceptible to changes in humidity, as it can adapt well to fluctuations over time. However, canvas does respond quickly to changes in humidity level so although long term differences won’t effect it drastically, rapid changes will cause constant fluctuation and may result in damage to the material or paint layer.
Large panel paintings are often made up of more than one panel. If these panels move apart through warping, paint may crack or flake off. Paper and papyrus will become brittle and difficult to handle if they dry out. Although this effect is reversible by leaving them in a moist surrounding, alternate drying and damping cycles are not good for the paper structure and can cause damage.
Ivory is also hygroscopic and behaves in a very similar fashion to wood. Thin elements of an ivory structure are extremely susceptible to changes in humidity and even a draught from a window may be enough to cause them to crack.
Textiles are more likely to be damaged when handled if they are below their natural moisture level. Silk is particularly at risk as are exhibits that contain hair. Often these materials are stretched across wooden boards or frames, where the fibres can become brittle or broken if their movement is restricted.
Pottery, terracotta and stone will have their internal mineral content altered in moist or dry conditions. Salts that are in the substance will rise to the surface when wet and then crystallise when dry. This can lead to stains on the surface, powdering and flaking.
Mould is a threat to any hygroscopic object, if conditions are not measured mould can spread at a rapid rate to cause decay and microscopic damage.
Please contact us if you wish for further information on how Spook can help with your environmental and power monitoring needs.Contact us