NILU - The Norwegian Institute for Air Research

Measurement, Effect Assessment and Mitigation of Pollutant Impact on Movable Cultural Assets. – Innovative Research for Market Transfer


The MEMORI project (Grant agreement 265132) was performed in the period 2010-2013. The project was coordinated by NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air Research and included 14 partners, four subcontractors and an advisory end-user group with 8 members. MEMORI aimed at providing the conservation market with innovative, non-destructive, and early warning technology for easy assessment of environmental impact on indoor cultural heritage. In addition a new web-based mitigation tool was developed.

A web based survey was performed at the start of MEMORI. The aim of the survey was an empirical study on the attitudes towards indoor air quality (IAQ) in European collections. The evaluation of the survey showed that many museums are not aware of the problems related to the objects in their collections, due to the IAQ.

The MEMORI technology consists of three parts; The MEMORI dosimeter, which is sensitive to indoor climate and light, and to the oxidizing and acidic air pollutants, commonly present in indoor locations. The handheld MEMORI dosimeter reader, designed for in-situ measurements, which will improve the functionality of the dosimeter by reducing the time for results evaluation and make the system more flexible. Finally, the MEMORI webpage, including PC software for easy reading and storage of the measurement results. The MEMORI web pages present guidelines and procedures, based on preventive conservation knowledge (

In addition, damaging effects of organic acids on different types of organic materials were studied with accelerated ageing. The new samples were studied with advanced invasive analytical techniques and real objects with non invasive analytical techniques, to improve the scientific basis for recommendations of tolerable pollution levels.

Studies aimed at optimising the designs and regimes for control of enclosure environments were performed. They focused on the performance and applicability of pollutant adsorbents inside museum enclosures. Analyses of volatile organics inside the enclosures were performed both before and after installing adsorbers. A luminescence-based oxygen sensor for the detection of oxygen in anoxic enclosures was also developed.

Finally, an improved preventive conservation strategy was developed. All results from research were brought together in the MEMORI web pages. A decision support model was developed which identifies the risk of damage to collection materials, allowing individual end-users to consider their specific circumstances. Once risk is identified information about pollution measurement is provided, followed by assessment of results. This assessment includes the results from experiments carried out in MEMORI on the effects of air pollutants on selected materials. A comprehensive literature review on pollutant damage was made, resulting in the most up to date survey and presentation of pollutant damage on indoor cultural heritage. The decision support model allows end-users to input parameters about their own circumstances. The system provides various options and recommends the most successful potential mitigation technique, also considering initial cost outlay, ongoing cost and energy usage.

A detailed business and marketing plan was developed in cooperation with representatives of the end-user advisory group of the project. It is now the basic instrument for market transfer of the MEMORI technology.

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