The museum is situated in the heart of the city and is exposed to air pollutants coming from traffic fumes, burning of coal, and industrial processes. Moreover, Greenpeace has named Moscow and St. Petersburg the most polluted cities in the country with the highest concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which comes principally from vehicle exhaust emissions, airports, and combustion processes. Nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants, typically volatile organic compounds (VOCs) form ozone under the influence of sunlight that can cause irreversible damage and risk of deterioration to the museum objects.
Conserve sensitive objects and preserve the health of staff and visitors for generations to come.
DEFINING THE STRATEGY - ACTION PLAN
To further their efforts of preserving and protecting these historical treasures the conservation scientists at The Hermitage were looking for an air quality solutions laboratory that could check what molecular pollutants are present in the air of the museum. A team of specialists visited Camfil’s R&D Tech Centre and manufacturing unit in Trosa, Sweden. The purpose of the visit was to understand the advanced Clean Air technology used by Camfil and plan the strategical measures after analyzing the particulate and molecular containments present at the museum.
A Camfil team including Global Molecular Contamination Control Expert, Dr. Chris Ecob together with the Hermitage team discussed the findings of earlier research to come to preliminary conclusions of how to improve the indoor air quality. One of the findings that needed to be corrected was that the Museum previously used low-efficiency solutions and high leakage was evident through the filter media. The team prepared an action plan and a solution was then proposed for the Hermitage museum using City-Flo filters in HVAC units placed in the basement and using available ducts in order to do no damage to the historical building. These systems were then supported by Air Cleaners in selected exhibition halls as well as filtration in showcases.
The first installation of City-Flo filters was in Alexander hall (exhibition of the silver collection) and during the following year the measurements of particulate and molecular contaminations were carried out. The preliminary conclusions confirmed the effectiveness of the air cleaning solution.
(In the picture on right: CityCarb Triple Boxtype filter and MiniClima machine in the showcase)
ROAD AHEAD - INSTALLATION AND EXECUTION
The Hermitage’s main building and exhibition areas are now equipped with City-Flo filters that complement the existing ventilation system and provides energy savings, efficient productivity, and healthier air quality with less dust and fewer harmful particles. Moreover, to protect all the museum showcases from a high level of humidity MiniClima’s devices were used along with Camfil’s CityCarb Triple Boxtype filter. The Hermitage uses more than a hundred microclimatic showcases and humidity level is maintained with MiniClima (Austria) devices. After the filter was installed in The Hermitage museum’s MiniClima devices high efficiency of air filtration was confirmed. Now all MiniClima’s in The Hermitage are equipped with CityCarb filters. This development gave birth to a partnership between Austrian company MiniClima and Camfil for many more humidity control and air filtration collaborations.
ADVANCED REAL-TIME INSIGHTS
Real-time information on air corrosivity is crucial for effective corrosion protection of valuable cultural heritage objects. ISA-Check II is a corrosion sensor that offers advanced real-time insights that can be translated into corrosion depth and rate. Camfil helped to organize the monitoring of particulate and molecular contaminants in The Hermitage on a regular basis using ISA-Check II, TSI particle counter, and Giga check instruments.
NEED FOR AIR CLEANERS
Some halls and restoration workshops at The State Hermitage Museum had no ventilation or were not sufficiently ventilated. Camfil suggested to use Air Cleaners to improve air quality in such critical areas. Camfil’s Air Cleaner model CC 800 reduces levels of contaminants and dust to maintain a high level of cleanliness and indoor air quality. This is beneficial for both the museum treasures and the health of people working and visiting the museum. The initial results were exceptional and today The Hermitage uses more than 100 Camfil’s Air Cleaners in exhibition halls, restoration workshops, and storage rooms.
THE CLEAN AIR AFFAIR BETWEEN THE HERMITAGE AND CAMFIL
Camfil was invited as a participant at the first international conference on indoor climate in museums in Russia. Lars Erik Stolth from Camfil made a presentation about the preservation of assets at the museum by providing clean air filtration solutions. The exhibition showcased many illustrations on indoor air quality and the topic of the discussion remained “Museum Climatology – the Basis for the Preservation of Objects of Cultural Heritage”.
Success at The Hermitage, Amsterdam - Camfil was also trusted for advising The Hermitage, Amsterdam museum about energy efficiency and protecting the treasures with clean air solutions.