Evaluation of the indoor environment in a historic museum during the COVID-19 lockdown in Northwest England

Brett Martinson, Sura Al-Maiyah*, Hisham Elkadi

*Corresponding author for this work

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Monitoring the quality of the indoor environment is a practice commonly adopted by museums as part of operational risk management. Recorded environmental data are often used to assess the safety of the indoor environment for artefacts, and their suitability for visitors' comfort. Previous studies reported monitoring campaigns assessing the performance of museums and level of compliance with regulatory standards. These analyses were typically conducted in normal circumstances assessing indoor microclimate quality under normal operating procedures. Museum closures during the 2020 pandemic and the global lockdown measures, introduced by governments, presented the heritage sector with an unprecedented situation with empty galleries where collections, in several museums, were held ‘dormant’ in free-running environments. Assessing the indoor environment in such exceptional circumstances offers a unique insight into the performance of these heritage repositories in other unpredicted situations and potential opportunities for microclimate optimization. This paper reports the results of an extended pre and post-pandemic monitoring that was performed in a historic museum in Northwest England. It contributes to the ongoing universal debate about the application of standardized strict environmental guidelines and the shift towards more contextualized standards in museums in the face of the decline in heritage funding and the pledges for carbon reductions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalBuilding Research & Information
Early online date27 Apr 2024
Publication statusEarly online - 27 Apr 2024


  • museums
  • extended in situ monitoring
  • indoor environment
  • COVID-19 lockdown
  • collection care
  • UKRI
  • AHRC
  • AH/R007810/1

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