Formalize in-house pest monitoring fro fungi and mold
and the environmental conditions which promote these by
establishing greater training for staff in preventive conservation
through monitoring (of fungi and mold, and the environmental conditions
that promote their growth), on-line reporting allowing identification
of genus/specie, conditions, and location.
Identify and correct the underlying cause(s) (usually moisture-related)
that contribute to presence of these organisms.
In concert with efforts of the Conservation Department, retain,
encapsulate and identify samples as a study "collection".
Develop Inspection schedule for dark, damp, unoccupied spaces
that typically exhibit conditions promoting fungi and mold.
"Fungi are simple-celled organisms that do not need energy
from light for growth. The fungi bear microscopic spores that
are produced in enormous quantities, are always present in the
air, and spread via air currents. They are often water repellant
and are resistant to desiccation (drying out). Extreme cold and
heat will destroy them.
"When the spores are in favorable environment, they will
germinate. What constitutes a favorable environment is different
for each species. After landing on a host material, a spore must
obtain sufficient moisture to germinate and find enough food.
Without moisture, the spores will lie dormant until favorable
"For this reason, it is important to control the environmental
conditions where museum collections are stored or exhibited. The
NPS "Museum Handbook," Part I (Rev 9/90), Chapter 4,
recommends that temperatures not exceed 24 degrees C (75 degrees
F) and relative humidity (RH) not rise above 65%. These conditions
are maximum levels and only reduce the potential for microorganism
growth. They do not eliminate he threat. Some microorganisms can
grow in significantly lower temperatures and at lower RH levels.
Certain materials need to be stored with lower RH levels to prevent
growths. Refer to the NPS "Museum Handbook," Part I
(Rev 9/90), Figure 4.3, chart for the RH target levels for various
materials and types of objects that are housed in park museum
"NOTE: Some species of microorganisms cause health risks
in the form of chronic lung irritation. Always exercise caution
when handling badly infested materials, i.e. wear a high-efficiency
particulate air (HEPA) filter respirator and disposable gloves.
(See also "Conserve O Gram" 16/1)."
Primer on Disaster Preparedness, Management & Response,
Museum Management Program,
National Park Service,
from "Mold and Mildew: Prevention of Microorganism Growth
in Museum Collections," National Park Service, revised
Conserve O Gram Number 3/4, by Jane Merritt, July 1993.