Environmental control in museums
"Environmental Control in Museums – the Friendly Approach" is the central theme to be explored at this year’s conference organised by ICOM Malta. The conference, to be held on October 26 at the Malta Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa, will tackle the subject of environmental control within historic houses, museums, libraries, archives, churches, sites and private homes.
Nine speakers will discuss themes related to alternative sources of energy and passive methods of environmental control. Their talks will explore the theoretical approach to the subject and present case studies to demonstrate how their efforts have affected the day-to-day operations of museums, on an environmental and also a financial level.
The keynote speaker for the conference is Prof. Dr Lucio Mulè Stagno from the Institute for Sustainable Energy of the University of Malta and Vice-President of Din L-Art Helwa. Prof. Mulè Stagno, who is very involved in heritage management, will present a talk regarding the "Minimising the Carbon Footprint of Museums and Heritage Sites in Temperate Climates". Dr Hanna Szczepanowska from the Smithsonian Institute of Washington has also been invited to Malta for this conference and will be delivering a talk entitled "Greening Museums: Protecting collections and saving energy with storage cabinets".
Other speakers in the conference include Frank Chetcuti, a senior conservator working with Heritage Malta, who will be talking about "Deffun" with the aim of reintroducing the application of this traditional roof screed, to act as a waterproofing agent and insulator against temperature variations.
Architect Veronica Bonello who works in the Projects Division of Heritage Malta, will be giving a talk on "A sustainability agenda for Heritage Malta's historic buildings". Her discussion will focus on methods of reducing museums’ carbon footprint and acknowledging the energy efficient features designed within these historical buildings.
Pierre Bugeja, managing director of Prevarti, will deliver a talk about "Environmentally Friendly Pest Management Systems", discussing systems which protect not only the artefact, but also the environment and the operator.
Mario Galea, a preventive conservation specialist working with Heritage Malta, will present the work which is being done at the Preventive Conservation Unit within Heritage Malta.
David Frank Bugeja, a paintings conservator working with Heritage Malta, will discuss "The Enclosure: Sealing a 15th century panel painting in its decorative frame to control its microclimate".
Dr Malcolm Borg, conservation architect and town planner and Samantha Fabry of Heritage Enterprise will be talking about the passive systems used to control the environment of "The Corradino Royal Naval Prisons: An energy efficient interpretation centre exploiting existing micro-climates and heritage assets".
The Ggantija Temples in Xaghra, Gozo are the oldest standing structures and need particular attention for their long-term preservation. The title of the talk by Ing. Anthony Bartolo from AIS Ltd is "21st Century technology for 5,000-year-old World Heritage Sites". Mr Bartolo will talk about the apparatus installed on this site to measure temperature, relative humidity, solar radiance and wind speeds, among other parameters.
This conference is aimed at an audience from private, public institutions and non-government organisations who are involved in museum practice in the hope of bringing together curators, conservators, conservation scientists and architects, parish priests, project managers and other museum professionals. It will provide a platform for possible collaboration and an exchange of knowledge and expertise on the environmental issues which these institutions face on a day to day basis.
The general public is invited and attendance to the conference is free of charge, however bookings are recommended. For more information, email Romina Delia at romi_delia@ hotmail.com or visit the ICOM website or Facebook page.