From the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg, Ontario comes this expert advice. Consider a visit to this beautiful art gallery this summer.

In a museum setting, the environment is controlled to levels of temperature and relative humidity that are optimum for the long-term preservation of the works of art, while at the same time allowing for human comfort. Ideally, temperatures are kept between 19 to 21°C and relative humidity between 40% and 55% with a fluctuation not greater than 5% in a day. In a private home where it may be impossible to duplicate museum conditions, environmental stability can be more closely approached by careful selection of the locations used for the display and storage of works of art.

When selecting a location to display your works of art, a number of factors should be kept in mind:

  • Interior rooms will have more stable environments than rooms with outside walls.
  • Locations that are open to the outside (i.e. rooms where windows are open) will suffer from great fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity. Exterior walls will be, in certain seasons, colder and damper than interior walls in the same room.
  • Areas above or immediately adjacent to heat sources like hot air vents, radiators and fireplaces, will be hot and dry and suffer from wide fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms are unsuitably warm and damp for hanging works of art.
  • Attics are often poorly insulated and follow fluctuations of outside temperatures.
  • Basements are often cool and unacceptably damp.
  • Ventilation gaps left between each object and the wall will prevent excessive cooling and dampness.
  • Automatic portable humidifiers and dehumidifiers can contribute greatly to the stabilization of the relative humidity in a room when appropriately sized for the space.