Archives & Special Collections is excited to announce that installation of new HVAC equipment has just been completed for our facilities! The new equipment includes a Prestige THX9321 programmable color touchscreen thermostat that controls temperature, humidification, dehumidification, and ventilation. The system upgrades will greatly enhance the ability to preserve our collections by maintaining appropriate and consistent temperature and humidity set points.
What is preservation and why is it so important?
Preservation, a core function and primary ethical responsibility of archivists and custodians of historical records, encompasses a wide variety of activities which prolong the usable life of archival records and cultural property. Preservation activities seek to minimize the physical and chemical deterioration of a diverse array of materials and formats, as well as preventing the loss of associated informational content. In the absence of active preservation, important materials may quickly deteriorate and no longer be available as primary resources for research and scholarship.
The archival storage environment
One of the most fundamental and important preservation activities of archives is to maintain a safe environment with controlled, consistent humidity and temperature levels, good air quality, and limited light exposure. Optimal temperature and relative humidity range recommendations vary significantly by type of material collected (paper, artwork, photographs, magnetic tape, metal tools, blueprints, etc.). Thus, reasonable and thoughtful decisions are required for the preservation and storage of mixed material collections such as ours.
Archival and cultural heritage preservation is a wide and varied field, but here are a few of our favorite preservation websites: