Art & Artifact Preservation Facts
American museums, libraries, archives, historical societies, and scientific research organizations are visited 2.5 billion times a year.
1) More than 4.8 Billion Artifacts are held in public trust by more than 30,000 archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, scientific research collections, and archaeological repositories in the United States. 1.3 billion of these items are at risk of being physically lost.
2) Roughly 70 percent of institutions need additional conservation/preservation training for their staff and volunteers.
3) A majority of collecting institutions, more than 80 percent, do not have a disaster plan in place that can be executed by trained staff.
4) Nearly a quarter of all the 21 million paintings, sculptures, and works of decorative art in U.S. collections need conservation treatment or improved care and conditions.
5) The Heritage Health Index found that the most urgent preservation need at U.S. collecting institutions is environmental control such as Humidity, Light, Pollutants and Pests. Over 50 percent of collecting institutions have had their collections damaged by light or moisture.
6) More than 65 percent of collecting institutions report damage to their collections due to improper storage. As safe as it seems to pack collections away, storage facilities can present unanticipated hazards. Many materials are stored in basements, attics, or warehouses that do not have proper environmental controls or are at risk for flooding or overheating. Fragile items are often crammed into drawers or crowded onto shelves where condition problems go undetected and retrieval is risky. Improper containers leach acids and chemicals into their contents, slowly destroying them.
Collections must be kept in a proper environment, whether they are exhibited in a gallery, available to researchers in a reading room, or held in storage. Providing a safe environment for these fragile objects is a fundamental responsibility of every institution.
*Source: “A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections”, 2005 Library of Congress.
Emerald Art Services LLC can provide comprehensive risk assessment services for institutional, corporate and private collections. See all of our collection services HERE, and call us today for a free consultation.