Exhibits create a conservation workflow beyond traditional treatment. Exhibit work can include item preparation and installation, as well as broader preservation issues, such as management of light exposure, temperature, and relative humidity. A recent exhibit extension required TSLAC Conservation to reevaluate total light exposure for the items on display. Because light exposure is cumulative and irreversible, light is carefully monitored during exhibition to balance public access with preservation issues.
Photographs are especially sensitive to light damage, and different types of photo materials can tolerate different amounts of light. We typically reference a standard set of guidelines from the National Park Service to evaluate acceptable gallery limits. During our recent exhibit extension, we found that several photographs in our brightest display cases would be endangered by excessive light exposure. We replaced these photographs with high quality reproductions for the remainder of the display period in order to preserve the originals.