Yale Center for British Art: Environmental Monitoring During Multi-year Restoration
When undertaking a major restoration in a museum how do you protect a valuable art collection of thousands of paintings, hundreds of sculptures and a library of rare books and manuscripts? This is the question the Yale Center for British Art needed to answer well before construction activities could even begin.
The Yale Center for British Art houses the largest collection of British art outside the United Kingdom. The center needed to modernize and refurbish their 1977 facility, which is about 95,000 square feet comprised of exhibition floors, conservation studios, a research library, a lecture hall and office space. Dust generated by construction would be a critical issue in these spaces in addition to a potential annoyance to visitors and staff.
EH&E designed and implemented a real-time monitoring program to protect environmental conditions in the Center for the duration of the multi-year restoration project. Essential to the program was evaluating how dust would affect the art collections and occupants, so that protective threshold limits could be established.
Monitoring at the Center was automated and conducted 24/7. This extra layer of protection helped ensure that control measures and barriers installed to mitigate construction impacts were effective and that there wasn’t a breach in containment. This real-time monitoring generated automated alerts to the project team if thresholds were exceeded, allowing the team to respond and fix an issue before it became a problem. Unlike typical continuous monitoring methods where data is logged, but then must be downloaded and analyzed later. So you don’t know there is a problem until after the fact. Round-the-clock monitoring allowed construction to occur in this sensitive environment and provided peace of mind for all sides – the Center, the construction team and occupants.
EH&E’s automated environmental monitoring program was instrumental in helping the Yale Center for British Arts protect its extensive art collections, staff and visitors. There were no adverse impacts from construction activity.