Indoor air quality of a museum in a subtropical climate : the Oscar Niemeyer museum in Curitiba, Brazil
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
The science of the total environment. - Amsterdam
, p. 314-320
University of Antwerp
The assessment of damage to indoor cultural heritage, in particular by pollutants, is nowadays a major and growing concern for curators and conservators. Nevertheless, although many museums have been widely investigated in Europe, the effects of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants in museums under tropical and subtropical climates and with different economic realities are still unclear. An important portion of the world's cultural heritage is currently in tropical countries where both human and financial resources for preserving museum collections are limited. Hence, our aim is to assess the damage that can be caused to the artwork by pollution in hot and humid environments, where air quality and microclimatic condition differences can cause deterioration. As a case study, particulate matter as well as gases were collected at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum (MON) in Curitiba, Brazil, where large modern and contemporary works of art are displayed. NO2, SO2, O3, Acetic Acid, Formic Acids and BTEX, in the ambient air, were sampled by means of passive diffusive sampling and their concentrations were determined by IC or GCMS. The particulate matter was collected in bulk form and analyzed with the use of energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence and aethalometer. The chemical compositions of individual particles were quantitatively elucidated, including low-Z components like C, N and O, as well as higher-Z elements, using automated electron probe microanalysis. The gaseous and particulate matter levels were then compared with the concentrations obtained for the same pollutants in other museums, located in places with different climates, and with some reference values provided by international cultural heritage conservation centers. Results are interpreted separately and as a whole with the specific aim of identifying compounds that could contribute to the chemical reactions taking place on the surfaces of artifacts and which could potentially cause irreversible damage to the artworks.