Case studies – Climate, Document restoration

The art of climate control

In January 2015, The Yale Center for British Art in Connecticut closed its doors to the public due to an extensive interior building conservation project. The Center holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom. One of the greatest challenges during the project was to minimize the risk of damage to all the valuable works of art that remained in the building during conservation by stabilizing the indoor climate.

Climate control a form of art
After careful consideration, this delicate task was entrusted to Polygon. Not least because our Polygon team could effectively meet the desire for not only the artwork, but Center staff, to remain in the building during the three month period when auxiliary control methods were needed to maintain the climate. Quite a bold promise in any case, and bolder still as this work would be carried out during the hottest and most humid months of the year.

Along with the refurbishment of public spaces, enhancement of amenities, and improved accessibility for disabled patrons, significant upgrades were made to vital mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and telecommunications systems. In short, the assignment of our Polygon team could be pinned down to two figures: humidity of 50% and temperature of 20°C. In all the interior spaces. Around the clock. Throughout the entire period when the museum’s own climate control systems were taken off-line for upgrading. To achieve this, the building’s mechanical system was relieved by an interim solution. Temporary equipment was installed both inside and outside the building, with conditions constantly monitored by a system designed by Polygon. All to keep everything under full control.

In October 2015, the temporary climate control work was successfully completed according to plan. The museum stayed open to staff, art handlers, and construction teams throughout the period, allowing them to go about their own important work. Demonstrating that climate control also can be an art in itself.