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    Museum Collections in Industrial BuildingsA selection and adaptation guide


    MAY CASSAR (Editor)



    Museum Collectionsin

    Industrial Buildings

    A selection and adaptation guide

    Bill Bordass

    May Cassar (Editor)

  • Limitation of Liability

    Museums & Galleries Commission 1996First published 1996ISBN 0 948630 38 8Designed and typeset by TechsetComposition Limited, Salisbury and printedin the UK by Bigwood and Staple,Bridgwater, Somerset

    Registered Charity No. 295943

    The advice and information in thispublication is given in good faith and isdeemed to be an appropriate analysis of thesubjects under discussion. It does nothowever constitute precise instructions toenable a detailed solution to be carried out.The Museums & Galleries Commissionstrongly recommends that advice isobtained from the appropriate specialists.

    Cover illustration: The Museum BuildingCommitteeThanks to Tim Padfield, Nationalmuseet,Copenhagen, for the cover cartoon.

  • While best read from beginning to end, this Guide is based on a series ofrelatively self-contained sections, most of which occupy a two-pagespread.

    ForewordThe primary aim of this publication is to improve communicationamong all those involved in the design and adaptation of premiseshousing collections. It is intended to empower the end-user, informthe developer and help the building designer avoid serious problemswhich are often quite elementary technically but which arefrequently overlooked or not properly discussed at the appropriatetime during the development of a project.

    The Conservation Unit of the Museums & Galleries Commission hasproduced this Guide in response to a trend among museums to seekaccommodation for reserve collections away from their main site.Traditional stores are developing as resource or support centres,thus providing museums with the opportunity to improve accessi-bility and care for their collections. While this Guide has been writ-ten primarily to advise museums on the procurement of storagebuildings, its recommendations, particularly its approach to envir-onmental control, can be applied more widely to other buildingprojects.

    While environmental control was the spur for the development ofthis Guide, other important issues were soon recognised and in-cluded. Safe access by visitors and staff is a key consideration. Anoff-site facility will not meet a museum's expectations if staff feel un-easy about working - possibly alone - with collections on a remotesite. Equally important, visitors must not be put off by bad or messyneighbours if a new facility is located on an industrial site. Other im-portant management considerations are whether a new facility canbe operated from the main museum site and whether collection-careconcerns over the transport of objects between distant locations canbe addressed satisfactorily.

    This Guide aims to encourage museums to carry out cost/benefitstudies of the re-housing options before them and thus enables themto prioritise the use of available resources, given the wide range ofissues that a museum needs to consider when developing a new fa-cility: access, collection care, management, security, health andsafety issues.

    This Guide deals mainly with spatial planning and environmentalmanagement issues. It focuses on the selection, design and adapta-tion of industrial buildings in order to achieve appropriate internalenvironmental conditions at an affordable price and it links spacerequirements to collection need. But the Guide is also intentionallyshort and succinct, and therefore it cannot hope to cover in detailthose aspects where specialist advice may be required, namelybuilding fabric conservation and repair, maintenance, security andfire protection.

    Neither does the Guide suggest that procuring cost-effective storagespace is sufficient to achieve low running costs. Clearly, the way inwhich the energy consumption is monitored and managed will af-fect this, so the operating practices of the staff, including training,need to be considered.

    While this Guide is both strategic and practical in its content, it cannever replace the value of going out and looking at examples of mu-seum collections in industrial buildings, when a museum is contem-plating such a move. This advice also applies to the buildingdesigner. When the whole project team is looking at the same thing,there is less of a chance of confusion and misunderstandings, lead-ing to costly mistakes which may be difficult to rectify later.

    May Cassar February 1996


    This Guide was originated by the Museums & Galleries Commissionand William Bordass Associates was commissioned to carry it out.Bill Bordass and Joanna and Peter Eley undertook the study anddrafted this Guide. SVM Partnership Ltd undertook some of the casestudy investigations and related computer modelling. Financial as-sistance was provided by the Department of Trade and Industryunder the Energy Design Advice Scheme (EDAS).

    We would also like to thank BRECSU and the Department of theEnvironments Best Practice programme for their helpful commentson energy efficiency.

    The assistance of all those who have given us their views, dis-cussed their plans, shown us round their stores, and commentedon drafts is gratefully acknowledged.

  • G

    The Building's Performance as aProtective Enclosure 13

    General RequirementsA Sound ShellLow Air InfiltrationGood InsulationLimiting Heat GainsHigh Thermal Capacity

    HImproving the Thermal Performance ofthe Building Shell 14

    What is a U-value?Upgrading Insulation and AirtightnessInsulation: Points to WatchRelationships Between Temperature, Rela-tive Humidity and Moisture

    JBuffer Zones, Airlocks andContainers 16

    Problems with Poor External WallsPlanning Buffer ZonesAppropriate ContainersDoors for Goods, Vehicles and PeopleCase Studies of Use of Buffer Zones

    KBuilding Services 1:Heating and Ventilation 18

    Heating EquipmentFire and Flood RisksVentilation Systems

    LBuilding Services 2:Control of Internal Conditions 20

    Control DevicesAir ConditioningHumidity Control

    MCase Study 21

    Assessment and Upgrading of IndustrialUnits

    NChecklists 22

    Organisational ChecklistTechnical ChecklistStorage ChecklistMove-in and Occupancy Checklist

    PReferences 23

    In the text, references are identified in squarebrackets, for example [4].

    QSources of Advice and OtherInformation 24



    Introduction 1

    AInitial Decisions 2

    A Good Storage BuildingThe TeamThe ProcessInitial DecisionsThe SearchAn Outline BriefSome Issues to be Considered

    BTypical Characteristics of IndustrialBuildings 4

    Properties of Typical BuildingsHidden HazardsStructural Systems

    CEvaluating Sites and Buildings 6

    Site LocationSite CoverageBuilding Form and TypeSpatial ConfigurationsStructural Checklist

    DStorage Planning and Systems 8

    Storage ClassificationsStorage PlanningPoints to WatchRelationship DiagramsPlanning Entrances and AislesDo Not Waste Vertical Space

    EEnvironmental Control Requirementsand Principles 10

    Storage Conditions for ObjectsConsidering StandardsAre Variations Acceptable?Indoor Air QualityMoisture-Related DeteriorationThe Influence of the BuildingThe Role of Building ServicesEnvironmental Control Strategies

    FNatural and Electric Lighting 12

    LightingExposure to LightLight Sources and FittingsLight SwitchingDaylight and SunlightLighting of Mobile Racking

  • Introduction

    'We have much more material in store than wecan ever display.'

    'It is increasingly hard to justify the cost ofproper storage facilities unless public access isprovided.'

    'The stores are far from adequate but it is hardenough to finance the necessary work to the mu-seum itself: can we get better, but low-cost,space?'

    'The lease is running out: we need a new storeurgently.'

    What do we really want? What advice do we require? What questions should we ask?

    What buildings are available? What type is best for us? What are the most important features? Should we rent or buy?

    Can we proceed in stages? What are the pitfalls and problems? Do good prototypes exist?

    Can we control the environmenteffectively and economically?

    What are the options? Do we need air-conditioning? Can we afford it?

    Purpose f This Guide

    This Guide addresses many questions likethose above, both in general and with case-study illustrations. It is particularly aimedat:

    Museum curators and conservators. Collection managers and administrators. Funding bodies. Architects, engineers and builders.

    Building owners, developers, surveyors andestate agents will also find sections of inter-est, especially A, B, C, F, G & H.

    The Guide's prime emphasis is on the mainstorage area - and, in particular, its inter-nal environment - and on assessing andmodifying part or all of an industrial build-ing (both old and new, large and small) andreviewing developers' package deals. Muchof the material is also relevant to museumstorage generally.

    Many problems that occur in practice can betraced to differing perceptions by buildingand museum professionals. The Museums &Galleries Commission hopes that this Guidewill assist all those involved to share theirunderstanding of the issues and make betterdecisions.

    Museum of London Eagle Wharf Road Resource Centre which houses theMuseum's reserve collection and to which visits for the public are organised.

    Museum Storage in IndustrialBuildings

    Housing collections Is of fundamenta