Storage environments determine long-term preservation. We recommend industrial, steel coated shelves that have a powder coating to maintain records, which was established by the National Archives‘ initiative in 2002. We recommend you also review the National Archives’ 1999 Standards for Permanent Records Storage and Presidential Libraries. These materials allow for natural air circulation. We prefer the rolling shelves to maneuver in case of a natural disaster.
The facility should have a temperature and humidity monitor to maintain a standardized environment. We recommend keeping your storage and gallery facilities at 70 degrees Fahrenheit at a 45 percent humidity level. You can purchase a data logger from Gaylord Archival or Image Permanence Institute. The Image Permanence Institute, is a “recognized world leader in the development and deployment of sustainable practices for the preservation of images and cultural heritage.” They provide IPI’s Methodology for Implementing Sustainable Energy-Saving Strategies for Collections Environments as a free PDF. Maintain your collections in a pest-free environment. You can reference identification pest fact sheets here: museumpests.net/identification/identification-pest-fact-sheets.
Ultraviolet light levels should also be noted. When working on records, you can refer to the National Archive’s recommendations for Storing Family Papers and Photographs. The Northeast Document Conservation Center stated in their publication, Temperature, Relative Humidity, Light, and Air Quality: Basic Guidelines for Preservation to “Maintaining stable conditions is crucial. An institution should choose a temperature and relative humidity within the recommended ranges that can be maintained twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. The climate-control system should never be turned off, and settings should not be lowered at night, on weekends, or at other times when the library or archives is closed. Additional costs incurred by keeping the system in constant operation will be far less than the cost of future conservation treatment to repair damage caused by poor climate.”