The regulations and reality of indoor environmental standards for objects and visitors in museums

Hisham Elkadi, Sura Al-Maiyah, Karen Fielder, Inji Kenawy, Brett Martinson

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The management of indoor microclimates is an important function of museum operations, a topic that has recently received growing attention. The way in which museum microclimates are specified is still not well documented universally, particularly in developing countries where a significant part of the global ‘movable’ heritage is situated. Most of the current contributions come from scholars covering climate control practices in developed nations. The bibliography related to museum environmental and climate management in other regions is comparatively limited. Heritage institutions have varying levels of resources, funding mechanisms, management protocols and expertise. In the absence of shared best practices, great variability in the environmental management practice exists across different institutions and countries. This paper brings together 96 studies that were selected and critically evaluated to review publications in the field over the last two decades and trace the variations in climate control practice across regions. The findings of the review confirmed the gaps in research in the field and identified the relevance to the implementation of regulatory frameworks particularly in regions where little or no research of museums' indoor environments is taking place. The paper also shows that the fragmentation of tools and methods to assess the indoor environment in museums has contributed to variations in practices across the sector. Moreover, the paper provides evidence of the struggle to comply with the strict, and in cases exaggerated requirements, that aim at satisfying a varying range of conflicting criteria to provide indoor comfort to visitors while continuing to protect artefacts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111653
Number of pages11
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date13 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • museums
  • indoor environment
  • environmental monitoring
  • objects conservation
  • comfort
  • energy efficiency
  • standards
  • UKRI
  • AHRC
  • AH/R007810/1


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