Chapter 28: Outdoor Storage Situations

George Prytulak, Industrial Heritage and Public Art Consultant/Conservator, 737 Rolling River Crescent, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada  K1V 1M2

At some point, almost every museum keeps part of its collection outdoors, either as a matter of necessity or choice. Outdoor storage conditions—either completely exposed or semi-sheltered—are detrimental to some degree, so deterioration of the constituent materials is inevitable, often resulting in costly repairs and restoration in the future. Nevertheless, the museum can implement a number of preventive and remedial measures in order to mitigate the damage. This chapter offers instructions in determining which materials are most vulnerable to deterioration outdoors, assessing current and proposed storage conditions, and introducing interventions that will make the best of less-than-ideal situations. The information offered here can also be applied to artifacts and works of art displayed outdoors.

Key words:  outdoor storage, deterioration, remedial measures, weatherproofing, vulnerable parts, shelters