AIM Conservation Grants – Next Round Closes 30 September

AIM members from small and medium size museums are eligible to apply to the AIM Preventive Conservation Grant Scheme and the AIM Conservation Grant Scheme. Both schemes are generously supported by The Pilgrim Trust and the next round of applications closes on 30 September 2016.

Since these grant schemes started, hundreds of AIM member museums and heritage sites have benefited, and both schemes have been set up to help develop a more sustainable approach to the conservation and management of collections. To check your eligibility and for further information, please see the AIM website: AIM Grant Schemes.

Please note that the typical grant awarded is £5,000 or under. If you have any questions about these grants, please email: justeen@aim-museums.co.uk

We like to showcase examples of successful applicants, so that anyone thinking of applying can see the type of conservation work that AIM has previously funded. The following is a report from the American Museum in Britain in Bath, who were awarded £5000 awarded for the purchase of an ELTEK environmental monitoring system.

 USA museum

The American Museum opened in 1961 and is the only museum of American decorative and folk art outside the United States. Housed within a Georgian manor house and a modern exhibition gallery, the museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens and countryside.

As part of our mission to conserve and protect our objects, we monitor the environmental conditions throughout the whole Museum, including storage spaces.  Our old system consisted of five mechanical thermohygrographs.  They took a long time to manually calibrate and change their paper charts. They were also bulky and needed to be readily accessible for maintenance, which meant they couldn’t easily be used inside display cases.

We investigated many replacement monitoring systems, from standalone loggers such as the famous TinyTags to fully integrated systems with alarms and flood detection capabilities.  We also consulted other museums to learn from their experiences.  A wireless system was clearly an advantage and the principal reason for our decision to buy the Eltek system was its robust wireless communication – over a large museum site, the communications must work reliably and accurately.

The installed system is living up to our expectations and we are very grateful to AIM.  Thirteen Eltek GD10 sensors are spread throughout three floors and two buildings.  They feed data back to the base station and we have instant access to environmental information over our computer network.

Coupled with the lengthy battery life of the units, this has already meant a huge reduction in the time required to attend to each logging location.  That saving in curatorial time means we can have more loggers than before and, as a result, monitor much more of the museum. Most importantly, this new system is providing us with much better data about the conditions in the Museum, which, in turn, is providing us with the opportunity to pursue national loans.

Kate Hebert

Chief Curator, American Museum in Britain

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