Dehumidifiers protect photographic archive

Published:  02 September, 2007

archive
To dramatically slow down the deterioration of historic photographic negatives stored at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Calorex desiccant dehumidifers have been installed in four vaults.

Historic photographic material and negatives stored in the Witt Library at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London are having their life substantially lengthened by dehumidifiers supplied by Calorex Heat Pumps.

Adcock Refrigeration & Air Conditioning specified DehuTech desiccant dehumidifiers to control humidity in four 2.4 x 3.7 m brick-lined underground vaults in the Witt Library of the institute.

Alan Train, facilities manager with the Courtauld Institute, explains, ‘The units work around the clock to maintain the correct humidity levels in each of the four vaults, which house thousands of nitrate negatives and form part of a permanent archive of worldwide works of art.

‘These negatives date from pre-1970, and although we cannot stop their deterioration over time, we can dramatically slow the process down by carefully controlling humidity levels in the vaults.’

Long-term storage of film media requires low temperature and low humidity — usually around 10°C and less than 40% RH.



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