Issues of Papyrus that are less than a year old are available to IAMFA members only
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Progress report for IAMFA’s Strategic Plan
Preview of the 25th IAMFA Annual Conference in Chicago
The “Russian Doll” and other Unique Approaches to Fire Protection
Climate Control of the Arnamagnæan Archive
Cover Caption:The Centre Hall at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was the venue for the Burns Supper, during the 24th IAMFA Conference in Scotland. Photo: Ashley Davies
Letter from the Editor
Greetings from Los Angeles!
Since the last issue of Papyrus, we have traveled to Scotland for the 24th Annual IAMFA Conference, and I hope you were one of the record number of attendees. Jack Plumb and his team put on a terrific event for us, and I’ll never forget it!
We were there during the history-making referendum, in which the Scottish people ended up voting to remain part of the United Kingdom. It was so interesting to see all of the maneuvering going on alongside of what we were there for, which was one of the best annual conferences in our history. I hope you have a chance to read the Conference Recap article in this issue.
Having been on the IAMFA Board since 2005, I’ve learned that before one of our conferences is finished, planning for next year’s conference has already been underway for some time. There are a lot of moving parts involved in organizing a conference, and our Chicago hosts have been planning for a while now; you will start to learn more about their plans in this winter issue. There is an article by Patrick Jones and Bill Caddick with preliminary plans — but I happen to know some of the surprises that you won’t read about in this issue, so keep an eye on our website, and you may be among the first to hear about these surprises. You won’t be disappointed! Having grown up about a hundred miles from Chicago, I was fortunate to visit many of the museums in Chicago as a kid, and they were great nearly 50 years ago. I wonder if anything has changed in the past 50 years?
Chicago has a rich history, and it’s been 15 years since IAMFA met for an annual conference there. It will be a milestone year for IAMFA. IAMFA was founded in 1990 by George Preston, who was the Director of the Physical Plant at the Art Institute of Chicago. It is so fitting that we are back in Chicago, hosted by the Art Institute, to celebrate IAMFA’s 25th anniversary.
In this issue, you’ll find numerous articles from our members, along with one from one of our 777 LinkedIn Group members: Morten Ryhl-Svensen, who is an associate professor at the School of Conservation (KADK) in Copenhagen. The article is about a small archive of the Arnamagnæan Institute at Copenhagen University, which has almost entirely passive air-conditioning, due to its placement between a corridor in a permanently warm building and the building’s outer wall. Thanks, Morten and colleagues, for submitting this interesting article.
We included 300 images from the Scotland Conference in the centerfold of this issue of Papyrus, but if you want to see more, we have uploaded a few thousand to our IAMFA Archive. You can find a link on the Members Only page of our website www newiamfa.org to view and download them from IAMFA’s new Dropbox Archive. You’ll also see a link on that page to make a recommendation for a Peer Recognition Award. Tiffany Myers is heading up a committee to nominate an annual award recipient from IAMFA’s membership, who has made significant contributions to our mission. Please take a few minutes to recommend someone you believe has helped IAMFA to become a better organization. You can read more about this new Peer Recognition Award program in this issue.
You have no doubt heard about the Five-Year Strategic Plan by now. IAMFA’s Board of Directors prepared a progress update on the strategic plan in this issue. Please read about our progress to date, and join one of the committees organized to advance these goals. Please give back if you feel like you’ve benefitted from being a member of IAMFA.
One of our corporate members — Hal Davis of SmithGroupJJr — has also contributed an article: “The ‘Russian Doll’ and other Unique Approaches to Fire Protection for Irreplaceable Collections.” Hal leads SmithGroupJJr’s Cultural Studio in Washington, DC. SmithGroupJJr is one of the largest architecture, engineering and planning firms in the U.S., ranked #1 for design quality.
In addition, Robert Weinstein and Judith Capen have contributed an article called “Repairing Old Concrete at Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC.” This is a very interesting project, conducted in a highly systematic manner.
Finally, a treat for all of us: two of the guests at this year’s Scotland Conference wrote about their experiences. Thank you so much, Chris Coleman and Nancy Evans. Many of us don’t get to experience all the interesting and fun things that the guests get to see during the guest program. If you brought a guest to the conference this year, I hope you make sure you let them read these two articles. It is so neat that two of the guests had such a great time that they sent articles about their trip.
I hope 2015 is a wonderful year for all of you. It will soon be time to start celebrating; after all, IAMFA will turn 25 years old when we meet next autumn in Chicago.
Joe May, Editor
Message from the President
This is my seventh letter to the membership as the President of IAMFA. I accepted the nomination of another term as your President at our annual meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, just two months ago. We also voted in Randy Murphy, Vice-President for Administration, and Joe May, Editor of Papyrus, for another term as well. We conducted this business and much more during our IAMFA annual general meeting at the National Museum of Scotland.
Speaking of Scotland, were you one of the 85 IAMFA members who attended the Annual Conference in Edinburgh? If you were, you know how fabulous it was! Every single minute of every day was programmed with outstanding educational sessions, museum tours and networking with colleagues. From breakfast through dinner, we toured the cultural sites of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The 2014 Annual Meeting Organizing Committee, led by Jack Plumb, just simply outdid itself in every way possible. The work that goes into organizing a great conference is extensive, and it was evident at every location that the planning was done, and that it paid off. For our membership, everything just flowed perfectly throughout the conference at each and every location. We cannot thank this team enough for a job well done!
A quality conference depends upon solid sponsorship from our corporate friends, and Jack did an amazing job putting together an excellent sponsorship program that was very successful. Our sincere thanks go to our sponsors for all of their support in Scotland, and I look forward to working with them again for our Chicago Conference in 2015.
In Edinburgh, we awarded our second Diplomat Award to the much deserving Camfil Ltd. Camfil has been a sponsor of IAMFA longer than any other corporation, and has always sponsored an evening reception during the Conference that is not to be missed! I had the pleasure of sitting next to Chris Ecob with Camfil at our Gala Dinner and, boy, was that a treat — his company, the setting and the food!
Three of our finest longstanding and devoted members, Bob Morrone, Jack Plumb, and Harry Wanless, were awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Conference, and just seeing the surprise on their faces when their names were called was priceless! It is very important that we always take time to remember how far we have come as an organization from those early days, nearly 25 years ago. It is because of the dedication of professionals like Bob, Jack, and Harry that we are where we are today.
The Organizing Committee did an outstanding job putting together the educational program for our 2014 Conference. The Conference started with a Benchmarking Workshop that 47 people attended at the National Library of Scotland, in their famous Reading Room. We followed the workshop with an opening reception in the same beautiful Library so that everyone — guests and members alike — could enjoy the space.
On Monday, we traveled to Glasgow for a full day and evening of events in five different cultural locations. We started the day at the Burrell, and ended it at Kelvingrove with a Burns Supper. It was a very long day, but I wouldn’t have changed a single minute. We have many to thank for organizing such a fabulous day, but I must mention David Thomson, who worked with us for months leading up to our Conference, as well as all day on the Monday of our Conference.
Tuesday we spent at the National Museum of Scotland, and were treated to several more excellent educational sessions, as well as excellent museum tours. On Wednesday, we visited the National Galleries of Scotland, and were hosted to a full-day symposium on sustainability topics from outstanding experts in our profession.
Our optional day on Thursday brought us to New Lanark for a wonderful day of touring this expansive historical property. Thanks so much to everyone involved in planning and executing these fabulous days in Scotland for our membership and guests. I will never forget my time in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the professional acquaintances made.
If you missed the 24th Annual IAMFA Conference, you missed a great experience.
Next year, we will host our 25th Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, home to the first-ever IAMFA Conference. Bill Caddick and Patrick Jones are busy organizing this conference for September 20–24, 2015. Check out their article in this edition of Papyrus to see what they are already planning for our visit.
The Board has a very busy winter and spring planned, with much ongoing work in our new sponsorship and membership committees. If you are interested in helping us out on one of these committees, please let Randy or Brian know; they are always looking for members who want to help.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a very merry holiday season, and all the very best in 2015. Thank you for your continued support of IAMFA, and all the good work it does to improve our profession.
IAMFA Five-Year Strategic Plan (2013–2018) — A Progress Report
By the IAMFA Board of Directors
IAMFA has a history of strategic planning. Many of us remember meeting during the 2005 Annual Conference in Bilbao, Spain, to discuss how we could improve IAMFA as an organization. That was the first meeting of which we were aware, although there were probably others earlier in our organization’s history.
We met again during the 2010 Conference in San Francisco, where all of the Conference attendees enthusiastically contributed their ideas, and together we generated a list of our Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities for Improvement. In 2011, attendees at the IAMFA Conference in Auckland met again to prioritize the ideas on these lists from our session in San Francisco. These were the top four priority items in each category:
Publishing Benchmarking Data
The Annual Conference
Vehicles for Sharing Knowledge
Website is out of Date
Lack of Participation by Smaller Institutions
No Permanent Staff; All Volunteers
Need Better Sharing of Technical Information
Economic Conditions May Prevent Members from Attending the Conference
Lack of Process in Educating Upper Management that Facilities is a Core Business
Member Organizations May not See the Importance of Attending the Conference
Reductions in Operating Budgets
Opportunities for Improvement
Improve Marketing; Website is not User-Friendly
Add Value by Sharing Best Practices
Develop a Searchable Database of Issues
Establish Guidelines for Temperature and RH Settings
The Strategic Planning Exercises of 2010 and 2011 were useful in identifying the best opportunities for improvement. After the 2011 Conference, the Board began discussing how we should begin working on these improvement opportunities.
Over the following year, a great deal of work was done behind the scenes on the Number One item: developing a new website. That year, we also developed job descriptions for Board positions. We changed the bylaws to allow all members to vote during elections — rather than limiting it to those attending the Conference — and allowed members to vote by email. We developed a new Nominating Committee Policy to make sure the best candidates were selected to serve on the Board of Directors.
In addition, we developed guidelines for administration of the George Preston Memorial Award, and IAMFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, to ensure proper recognition of those who help IAMFA achieve its mission. We formalized marketing material for the new website, identifying the benefits of IAMFA Membership, and we developed an Index of Technical and Historical Articles published in past issues of Papyrus. It was a very busy year for Board members who were able to contribute their time.
In 2012, Nancy Bechtol was elected President of IAMFA, taking up her leadership duties while in the midst of planning the excellent IAMFA Conference in Washington, D.C. Nancy asked the Board to consider what strategic goals IAMFA should have for the next five years. We had worked hard to address the priorities identified during the 2010 and 2011 Strategic Planning Exercises, but our efforts were becoming less focused, and it was again time to take a step back and regroup.
The Board identified six goals that we believed should be the focus of our efforts for the next five years, and we presented this new Strategic Plan to the membership at the 2013 IAMFA Conference. The complete plan is available on our website, but the six goals are as follows:
Establish Financial Fitness
Achieve Educational Excellence
Enhance Metrics and Technology
It has now been two years since we established these six goals, and we’d like to provide an update of our progress to date.
We established a membership committee in 2013 made up of Board members and several members of IAMFA, and just revised the membership of this committee this year. The committee, now led by Brian Coleman and David Sanders, has worked this past year to improve individual and institutional membership. It has recently developed a membership plan with many great initiatives, some of which are described below.
This past year, we explored reaching potential new members by offering a free 2015 IAMFA membership to attendees at a range of workshops aimed at museum facility managers. These were: the Midwest Museum Sustainable Lighting Symposium in Chicago in September, and five workshops on Sustainable Preservation Practices for Managing Storage Environments presented by the Image Permanence Institute, which is a member of IAMFA. To date, four of the six workshops have taken place, and we have 260 new IAMFA trial members for 2015.
Brian Coleman and Shaun Woodhouse from Australia have also been speaking with members of an organization called PACA that has similarities to IAMFA, and will be inviting selected members for a free 2015 IAMFA membership. We will see how many of these trial members we can retain at the end of 2015, but we think that trial memberships may be a very economical and effective way to publicize IAMFA as an organization representing their profession.
We decided in 2013 that we needed to develop a proper way to recognize IAMFA’s corporate members for their contributions to IAMFA’s mission. We rely heavily upon our corporate members for their specialized expertise, and for their sponsorship of IAMFA. In 2013 and 2014, we recognized Steensen Varming and Camfil Ltd. for their contributions to IAMFA by presenting them with the IAMFA Diplomat Award.
IAMFA has 12 Regional Chapters around the world. We need to ask for help from the Chairs of these Regional Chapters to reach out to potential new members and to help retain existing members in their geographical regions. We’ve held breakfast meetings with the Chapter Chairs during the past two annual Conferences, and are beginning teleconferences soon with all the Chapters to determine what more we can do to involve the Chapters.
We’ve focused more effort over the past two years on reaching members who are about to let their annual memberships lapse. Everyone is so busy doing their jobs that sometimes they just don’t get their dues paid. IAMFA depends on these membership fees to sustain the organization, and we are working hard to retain our valued existing members, even as we reach out to new ones.
This year, IAMFA is introducing a Peer Recognition Award. This will be similar to Hollywood’s People’s Choice Awards, in that our members will vote for the person they believe has helped the organization prosper in achieving its mission. We hope everyone will visit the website’s Members Only Page to vote for whomever you believe most deserves the Award in its first year.
We will soon begin to start offering financial assistance to inactive Chapters to help them host meetings. Regional Chapters, you will hear about this soon. The Membership Committee will also be developing position descriptions for Chapter Chairs soon, capitalizing on what has worked well for some Chapters in order to help jumpstart activities in Chapters that have become relatively inactive.
We began to develop a Corporate Sponsorship Plan in 2012 with John Castle’s help. Randy Murphy continued that work, and produced the final plan that we are currently executing. This plan will be carried out by the newly developed Sponsorship Committee, which will have its first official meeting in December 2014.
For many years, we’ve sought the help of Conference sponsors in providing IAMFA’s great annual Conferences, but this year we are introducing a new Corporate Sponsorship Program. The Corporate Sponsorship Program will be somewhat similar to programs supporting public television and radio in the U.S. If you are a corporate member of IAMFA, we will be talking with you soon about becoming a Corporate Sponsor, and hope you will feel that the benefits of corporate sponsorship are right for you. The sponsorship benefits are designed to optimize collaboration and partnership between IAMFA members and your company, and to increase your access to IAMFA’s membership. As mentioned in the previous goal, we will also continue to recognize our top corporate sponsors at our gala dinners for their committed support to IAMFA.
This past year, we began to recognize our sponsors by placing their logos on our website, and when a visitor clicks on a corporate logo, they are taken to the sponsor’s website. Corporate Sponsor logos are located at the top of our homepage, while Conference Sponsor logos are on the Conference Page. There are numerous benefits to corporate sponsorship, including Manager-level privileges in IAMFA’s LinkedIn Group, which provides direct access to our 777 LinkedIn Group Members around the world. A Manager can search members by geographic region, and will be able to periodically send messages to specific members, or to make an announcement to the entire group.
The greatest opportunity for our Corporate Sponsors is that of establishing a relationship with IAMFA members needing their expertise, their services, or their products. Over time, IAMFA members establish cordial relationships based on trust, and these lead to business opportunities with IAMFA members and the facilities they represent.
Establish Financial Fitness
IAMFA is a small not-for-profit association, led by volunteer members who serve on the Board. Our size and strength is dependent upon our financial strength. Most of our income comes from annual membership fees, and we try to keep these as low as possible to attract members from all types of cultural institutions.
The Board decided we needed to increase our savings to be more resilient, in case we ever had a major problem with an annual Conference. That could be disastrous for a small association which relies on its annual Conference for financial support. Because IAMFA has limited means of generating revenue, we depend largely on the generosity of sponsors to expand our offerings, and increase the benefits of membership in IAMFA. So it follows that our success in achieving this goal depends on the success of the “Develop Sponsorships” goal.
Establishing financial fitness also depends on controlling our costs. By offering a corporate sponsorship program that increases access to our members, we hope to grow sponsorships, which will in turn allow us to increase professional support to all our members, and to the broader museum facility administration profession.
In the past year, IAMFA Treasurer Alan Dirican has begun developing an annual budget for review by the Board and by the membership at the annual general meeting, held during the Conference. The Board has also implemented an internal audit procedure to ensure that our costs are aligned with our objectives, and that all expenditures and revenues are accounted for properly, and according to non-profit tax laws.
The good news is that, as a result of several years of very successful corporate sponsorship and annual meetings, we have been able to reach our goal of securing more savings to improve our rainy day fund. We have quadrupled our savings since 2010!
The bad news is that we still have a long way to go in securing funding for much-needed capital improvements for our organization. We need to modernize our website, and purchase a membership software program — to name just a few of our requirements. It is a good thing this is a five-year strategic plan!
Achieve Educational Excellence
Over the past few years, we have worked hard on improving the educational content of our annual Conference and Chapter meeting programs. Scotland Conference attendees will remember, in particular, our Wednesday program in Edinburgh at the National Galleries of Scotland, which offered a quality symposium on sustainability and managing our collections.
We have come a very long way, but have much work ahead in this goal. This past year, we added an Education Page to our website to house documents that we feel can benefit both IAMFA members and visitors. The Education Page has numerous sub-pages with Conference presentations, Regional Chapter presentations, promotions, workshops, and other resources that members want to share. We’ve posted all of the 2013 Conference presentations, and most from 2014, including videotaped presentations from the Wednesday joint day with conservators and facilities attendees.
Viewing videotaped presentations is a new capability 3,000 thousand photographs have been posted from the 2014 Scotland Conference, and we can house large video files, which was previously impossible through our existing website host. From time to time, we will post links on our Members Only Page to targeted folders in the archive that you may want to see, such as Conference photos.
Our new IAMFA Archive holds organizational documents, policies, past Papyrus supporting documents, Conference planning files, Conference photos, presentations, website support files, and more. Please let us know if you have a resource that you would like to share with your fellow members, and we will include it either on our Education Page or our Members Only Page.
Communication between Board members is very good. We currently meet monthly by teleconference, and we often email one another daily when working on various issues. Monthly board meetings began in 2013, and will continue as they have been most helpful in moving our strategic planning actions forward throughout the year. The Board now meets for a full week during our spring Board meeting, which has allowed us time to really work on specific plans and projects.
Have you noticed the improvements in quality, layout and content of our Papyrus magazines since 2010? Every single edition is created with the goal of communication to our members and our profession. Editor Joe May has done an amazing job in producing every edition, and he has plans for more improvements to come. What he needs from all of us is articles!
Since 2009, our LinkedIn Group has provided a means for IAMFA members to communicate with one another as they wish. There are times when there are numerous posts in one day, and there are times when there are no posts for a month. We hope IAMFA members feel free to use the LinkedIn Group to ask for opinions on topics that present challenges. When someone posts a question, it usually gets numerous responses within a day or so. Our members are eager to help!
The area that we feel needs the most attention is communication between Board members and the IAMFA membership. Except for the President and Editor, each of whom writes a message in each issue of Papyrus, other Board members communicate with the IAMFA membership formally five minutes each year at the Annual General Meeting, and not all the members attend the Conference.
Obviously, there are occasional email blasts that go out to all members, but there is limited communication between the board and the IAMFA membership. We are proposing that all IAMFA Board members contribute a letter in Papyrus at least once each year — and hopefully more often — with a summary of their activities and accomplishments. This will keep everyone informed of what the board is working on.
Enhance Metrics and Technology
A little over a year ago, we began tracking monthly website statistics. We use Yola as our website platform, and we now plot new data each month in Excel to update charts that show trends in site visits, total pageviews, and unique numbers of visitors. To date, we have not taken any formal steps to increase traffic to the site, but that is a goal. In the coming year we will be researching how we can best do this. If any member has experience with this, we would love to hear from you.
Several of you have volunteered to help by serving on one of the committees to advance these six goals. We are starting to get some significant traction on all of them, and hope you will join in and become part of the effort to make IAMFA an even greater organization serving our profession. If you are not on a committee, please consider dedicating some time to IAMFA; you’ll find out how worthwhile it is.
The IAMFA Board of Directors: Nancy Bechtol, Smithsonian Institution; Bill Caddick, Art Institute of Chicago; Brian Coleman, Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Alan Dirican, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.; Joe May, Retired, Getty Trust, Los Angeles; Jim Moisson, Harvard Art Museums, Boston; Randy Murphy, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and David Sanders, Retired, Natural History Museum, London.
Recap of the 24th IAMFA Annual Conference in Scotland
Incredible Hospitality, Beautiful Sights, a Referendum for Independence, One of the Best Educational Programs in IAMFA’s History, and Thriving Cultural Institutions Seen in the Fourth Dimension
By Joe May
The 24th IAMFA Conference in Scotland will be remembered in part for taking place during the week leading up to the history-making referendum in Scotland regarding whether or not Scotland should become an independent country. As nations around the world watched for the latest information on the upcoming vote, IAMFA’s members and guests began arriving in Edinburgh for their annual Conference.
We had all been looking forward to coming to Scotland, and what we found when we arrived was a sense of national pride, parades, debates, and healthy discussion about the future of Scotland. Despite such a patriotic, thought-provoking, and emotional subject, I never heard of one instance in which Scottish citizens were less than respectful about their individual views on the upcoming vote. Everyone was either was a “Yes” or a “No,” but no matter what the outcome, I had a sense that the Scottish were still going to be Scottish, and Scotland was still going to be Scotland, whether or not the majority of its citizens felt that they should remain part of the United Kingdom.
I was so impressed by the Scottish people — and what a Conference our Scottish IAMFA members put on!
Jack Plumb from the National Library of Scotland led a team of conference organizers who did an amazing job in planning the conference. Here is the entire team:
National Library of Scotland
National Galleries of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
I know how much time they all spent planning this year’s Conference. They did an amazing job, and we will never forget the sights and sounds of this year’s Conference. And, alongside all the educational aspects and terrific social events, some of us even tried something new — for me, it was HAGGIS!
The theme of this year’s Conference was “the fourth dimension” — the fourth dimension being time. Scotland has a famous past, but they have reinvented that past to provide a new cultural heritage for the children of Scotland to embrace and take forward. The program was carefully organized to tell this story, starting in Glasgow where we saw how an industrialized city reinvented itself as a modern cultural tourist destination. We found Glasgow bursting with wonderful museums and galleries, both old and new.
This year’s Conference was record-setting! There were 87 delegates and 57 guests in attendance. On top of that, the Wednesday plenary session was a joint meeting of IAMFA members and their conservator counterparts, for a total of 115 attendees. This was a real success, and demonstrates the growing cooperation between facilities professionals and conservators, especially in their efforts to preserve artifacts while improving sustainability at our cultural institutions.
On Wednesday, the Conference had attendance of more than 170. The presentations made on Wednesday were videotaped, and you can view them on IAMFA’s Website’s Education Page.
It is also very important that we recognize the sponsors who made this year’s Conference possible.
A. McGillivray Electrical & Refrigeration Electricians — Electrical & Refrigeration Contractors and Engineering
Bruynzeel — Storage Systems
Camfil Ltd. — Molecular Filtration Preserves Artifacts
Chubb Fire and Security — Making your World a Safer Place
Cofely GDF Suez — If it’s outside your business focus, it’s core to ours
ECG Facility Services — On site or on call; a seamless Facilities solution
EMCEL Filters — State of the Art filters . . . for the Arts of the State
Gardiner & Theobald — Building for Museums — Independent Construction and Property Consultants
Grundfos Pumps — Demand More, Demand Grundfos Magna3
Hardies Property & Construction Consultants — Professional solutions to all of your Property & Construction requirements
Intelligent Counting — Visitor Management Systems
Link 51 — Solving your collection storage needs
Norland Managed Services — Delivering Excellent FM to Museums, Galleries, and Heritage Buildings
SPIE Facility Services — Global Reach, Local Presence
Steensen Varming — Specializes in civil, structural and building services engineering, with offices in Denmark, Australia, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Ireland
Xicato / Mike Stoane Lighting — Equipment Design + Manufacture
These sponsors contributed to the intellectual content through presentations, and by generously contributing financially — enabling the spectacular venues, trips, and meals we all enjoyed during this year’s Conference. We urge IAMFA members to keep this in mind when in need of products, services, and expertise of the type offered by these Conference sponsors.
Day One of the conference began, as in past years, with the Benchmarking Practices and Learning Workshop for IAMFA members participating in the annual benchmarking exercise. This valuable exercise allows member institutions to compare building operation costs and practices, in order to find better ways to get things done. Please see Keith McClanahan’s recap of the Benchmarking Practices and Learning Workshop in this issue of Papyrus.
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Caption: Attendees at the optional Benchmarking and Learning Workshop on the Sunday prior to the start of the IAMFA Conference, for those participating in the 2014 IAMFA Benchmarking Exercise.
The opening reception for this year’s IAMFA Conference was held at the National Library of Scotland. It was a great evening, spent visiting with old friends we hadn’t seen since last year’s Conference in Washington, D.C. and meeting many new first-time Conference attendees, while we enjoyed appetizers and cocktails.
Because of the numbers attending this year’s Conference, and the number of events occurring in around Edinburgh, three hotels welcomed delegates and guests. The APEX International, APEX City, and IBIS Centre were great homes for IAMFA members.
As in past years, the Scotland Conference included separate programs for both delegates and their guests. During the five days, the two programs took place in tandem as delegates and guests travelled to the 14 venues included in this year’s Conference. Special mention should be made of Liz Hamilton and Gavin Moffat and the rest of the Library team, who did their best to look after all the guests during their tour. Both delegates and guests spent much of their time together at the same venues, while accomplishing their individual objectives: learning and networking for delegates, and exploration and discovery for the guests.
The venues included in the 2014 Conference were:
The Burrell Collection
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Mary King’s Close
National Galleries of Scotland
National Library of Scotland
National Museum of Flight
National Museum of Scotland
National Portrait Gallery
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
During the delegate program, members heard the following presentations:
Why are Museums Important to Glasgow? — Duncan Morran
The History and Development of Glasgow Museums — Dr. Martin Bellamy
Burrell Redevelopment — Alex McLean
Transformation, The National Museum of Scotland — Gareth Hoskins
Back to the Future, Adapting Heritage Buildings into Modern Museums and Galleries — Dan MacKenzie
The Making of the New Rijksmuseum — Karen Keeman
The Mary Rose Museum — Alan Hutton
The World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre at the British Museum — Dr. David Saunders
Ensuring a Sustainable Future for Properties in the Care of Historic Scotland — Ewan Hyslop
The Development of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery — 3 years on — Mark Napier and Jacqueline Ridge
During the Conference, the IAMFA Board of Directors met twice: first to prepare for the IAMFA Annual General Meeting, and a second time with Chairs of IAMFA’s Regional Chapters for breakfast and a discussion of new steps to support the regional chapters, as well as to ask for the Regional Chairs’ input and participation in IAMFA’s strategic plan.
The Annual General Meeting takes place each year during the IAMFA Conference. At this meeting, each Board member addresses the membership with a discussion of:
Regional Chapter Activities
IAMFA LinkedIn Group
Preview of next year’s IAMFA Conference (Chicago)
IAMFA’s President, Nancy Bechtol, reviewed accomplishments with regard to our five-year Strategic Plan, introduced last year at the Annual General Meeting in Washington, D.C. The Strategic Plan can be found on the Members Only Page of www.newiamfa.org. IAMFA is positioned to expand its partnerships, and to reach new members across the globe. To that end, IAMFA introduced six goals for the next five years, aimed at continuing to strengthen and grow our organization. IAMFA formed committees for goals one and two, and much has been accomplished towards those goals. Please see the separate article in this issue for an update on progress toward the following six goals:
Establish Financial Fitness
Achieve Educational Excellence
Enhance Metrics and Technology
Numerous members have stepped up to help on these committees. We encourage all IAMFA members to volunteer to participate on one of these six committees. Our success depends on everyone contributing. Please give back if you’ve benefitted from IAMFA in the past!
Three Board positions were up for election in 2014: President, VP Administration, and Editor. There were no new volunteers to serve in these positions for the next two years. Nancy Bechtol, Randy Murphy, and Joe May each volunteered to serve another two-year term in these positions.
On Wednesday evening, delegates and guests traveled to the gala by coach, and upon arrival the evening began with a group photo, and cocktails and canapés at the National Botanics in Edinburgh. It was a beautiful venue for the Conference’s closing gala.
The Botanics at Edinburgh is a hugely important player in a worldwide network of institutions seeking to ensure that biodiversity is not further eroded. Covering approximately 70 acres, nearly 273,000 individual plants are grown at the Botanics in Edinburgh and its three smaller satellite gardens (known as Regional Gardens), located in other parts of Scotland. These represent around 13,300 different species from all over the world, or about 4% of all known plant species.
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Caption: 2014 IAMFA Conference Group Photo.
Attendees enjoyed a delicious dinner, accompanied by a variety of wines, and a dinner program. Four IAMFA members were recognized with awards at this year’s closing gala.
The first was Corporate Member, Camfil Ltd., which has been a corporate member of IAMFA for many years. Camfil is the world’s largest and leading manufacturer of air filters. Camfil is well known for molecular filtration — a cost-effective method of controlling harmful pollutants that threaten safe storage and display conditions. Camfil provides various solutions, depending on the types and concentrations of gaseous pollutants, the type of artifact to be protected, and the layout of the ventilation system.
Camfil was presented with the IAMFA Diplomat Award for its educational contributions to, and support of, IAMFA. Accepting the award on behalf of Camfil was Chris Ecob. IAMFA is very fortunate to have Camfil as a Corporate Member and Sponsor of IAMFA. We rely so much on the generosity of our sponsors, and Camfil’s contributions to IAMFA’s mission have been invaluable. All of IAMFA’s members have benefitted from the expertise they share with us, and we also benefit from the products they provide when we are in need of their expertise.
We hope Camfil Ltd. will display this award in their offices to demonstrate to their staff and clients how much we value them as a company, and also how much we value them as members of IAMFA.
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Caption: Chris Ecob of Camfil Ltd. (center) accepts the 2014 IAMFA Diplomat Award for the company’s years of support for IAMFA’s mission. The award was presented by Jack Plumb (left), host of the 2014 Scotland Conference, and Nancy Bechtol, IAMFA’s President.
The second award of the evening was a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Harry Wanless, a retired IAMFA member from the British Library. Harry has been a member of IAMFA for more than ten years, and was a charter member of IAMFA’s Benchmarking Steering Committee. Harry and his wife Sheila have attended every annual IAMFA Conference since his first in 2004.
In 2010, Harry made a suggestion to the Board that we meet after the AGM each year, so that we could discuss member suggestions while they were fresh in our memories. It was this suggestion that made us rethink how the Board plans its meetings at conferences, mid-year Board meetings, and monthly teleconferences. Since then, the Board has significantly increased the meeting time at conferences and mid-year meetings, and this extra time planning has helped tremendously. IAMFA is a prospering, healthy, and growing organization; and we owe this in part to the greater time that the Board spends planning and exploring new ideas. Harry’s suggestion back in 2010 helped us get to this point.
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Caption: Harry Wanless (center) is awarded IAMFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award by John DeLucy, past President of IAMFA (left) and IAMFA President Nancy Bechtol (right).
A second Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to IAMFA Charter Member, Robert Morrone. Following a long career at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bob retired in 2009, but came back from retirement, along with his wife Mary Ann, to be key members of the team planning the 2012 IAMFA Conference in Philadelphia. Bob is one of the best known of IAMFA’s members, attending nearly all of IAMFA’s 24 Annual Conferences. Bob was awarded the IAMFA Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to, and support of, IAMFA for all these years.
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Caption: Bob Morrone (second from left) accepts the IAMFA Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Rich Reinert (left), Alan Dirican (third from left), and Nancy Bechtol (right).
The final Lifetime Achievement Award of the evening was presented to IAMFA member, and host of the 2014 Scotland Conference, Jack Plumb, of the National Library of Scotland (NLS). Jack has been a long-time IAMFA member, and is one of the leading contributors to IAMFA’s magazine, Papyrus. As editor of Papyrus, I have a real appreciation for the dedication Jack’s shown to IAMFA, sharing technology and improvements made over the years at NLS.
Jack also served as the UK Chapter chair for many years, coordinating local meetings in the UK, and reporting news from the UK Chapter. During the past three years, Jack has written ten articles for Papyrus, and another six chapter updates. His contributions to Papyrus have helped to make it an excellent technical journal and this, along with his readiness to share improvements with his fellow members, earned Jack IAMFA’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations, Jack! Thank you for your service on IAMFA’s Board of Directors, and for giving us one of the most unforgettable IAMFA Conferences in our history.
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Caption: Jack Plumb (second from left) receives the final Lifetime Achievement Award of the evening from David Sanders (left), Joe May (second from right), and Nancy Bechtol, (right).
As dinner wound down, Bill Caddick, host of next year’s 25th IAMFA Conference, described preliminary plans for the Conference, which is scheduled for September 20–24, 2015 in Chicago. Please mark your calendars, and make sure you join us next year for another unforgettable IAMFA Conference.
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Caption: Bill Caddick presents a preview of the 2015 IAMFA Chicago Conference.
This brought an end to the closing gala, and the end of a wonderful 24th Annual Conference — or almost.
What remained was the final, optional extra day of tours in New Lanark. New Lanark is a village on the River Clyde, approximately 40 kilometers southeast of Glasgow. It was founded in 1786 by David Dale, who built cotton mills and housing for millworkers. Dale built the mills there in a brief partnership with the English inventor and entrepreneur Richard Arkwright, to take advantage of the water power provided by the only waterfalls on the River Clyde.
Under the ownership of a partnership that included Dale's son-in-law, Robert Owen — a Welsh philanthropist and social reformer — New Lanark became a successful business. It was the epitome of utopian socialism, as well as an early example of a planned settlement, and thus an important milestone in the historical development of urban planning.
The New Lanark mills operated until 1968. Following a period of decline, the New Lanark Conservation Trust (NLCT) was founded in 1974 to prevent demolition of the village. By 2006, most of the buildings had been restored, and the village has become a major tourist attraction. It is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scotland, and an Anchor Point of ERIH — The European Route of Industrial Heritage.
The 2014 Scotland Conference was an adventure! We were there firsthand to see a historic referendum, which resulted in Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom. We saw so many interesting sights at the Conference venues, and enjoyed so many opportunities to learn and network with our peers from scores of cultural institutions across the globe.
For me, the most memorable event was the Burns Supper held on Monday evening at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. What an evening! I will never forget all the sights and sounds from that night. For me, it was exactly what I had imagined a traditional Scottish Supper to be. The actors made it even more remarkable. I wish all of our members could have been there to see it.
I know how hard our Conference hosts worked to make the 2014 IAMFA Conference so unforgettable. My sincere thanks to the Conference team — and particularly our host, Jack Plumb. Jack, you do more than most IAMFA members realize. Thank you!
Joe May has served on IAMFA’s Board of Directors since 2005, and is the webmaster and editor of IAMFA’s magazine, Papyrus.
2014 IAMFA Scotland Guest Program
By Nancy Evans
I have had the pleasure of attending the IAMFA guest programs since 2001. They afford us an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and to meet new people from all over the world. It doesn't get any better than that, and you make great contacts for future vacations!
Each host city has the opportunity to showcase their location and all it has to offer. We had the great fortune this year to be in Edinburgh, a very historical city, during the historic Scotland referendum for independence. There were “yes” and “no” banners hanging all over the country, and lively groups gathering everywhere to promote their point of view. In the end, the “no” votes won 55% and Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom.
On another note, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews voted to admit their first female players in their 260-year history! Progress knows no bounds!!
There is no better way to explore Edinburgh, which is built on seven hills, than on foot. Get ready for some heart-pounding climbs and descents! We began our walking tour in the Grassmarket, which has evolved from a location where farmers would trade goods and cattle, and public executions were held, to a trendy area filled with some of the oldest pubs and cafes. We walked to Greyfriars, the first church built after the reformation in 1602. We heard a feel good story was about a Skye Terrier called Bobby, whose loyalty to his owner lasted 14 years after his owner’s death in 1858. He was fed by the locals, and lay over his master’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard every day until his own death. He was rewarded with a statue in front of Greyfriars Bobby Pub, and in 1961 Walt Disney turned his story into a film.
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Caption: Greyfriars Bobby.
Next, we headed over to the Royal Mile: the main thoroughfare in Old Town that runs from the Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen. This area was the site of some of the earliest multi-story buildings in the 1500s, which housed approximately 80,000 people in cramped and unsanitary conditions.
Back in the 1600s, this area was a bustling commercial area, open to the sky. Four hundred years later, our tour of Mary King's Close kept us underground for 45 minutes. How did that happen? The city was rebuilt on top of these early buildings, so they are now underground. Our tour guide, dressed as a resident of the time, led us into a warren of rooms showing us how families lived in one room. They only had a “bucket” for personal use, which was emptied out the window into the streets twice a day. You can well imagine the unsanitary conditions both inside the house and outdoors! Bathing was considered unhealthy, so it was very “fragrant” and disease was rampant.
During the tour, three portraits of real people who lived in the area — including prominent businesswoman Mary King — came to life and spoke to us about life at that time. It was very entertaining, and made us thankful for our own living conditions.
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Caption: Mary King’s Close.
Further down the Royal Mile, in the midst of old stone buildings, we arrived at the new Parliament building constructed of steel, oak and granite. In 1997, the Scottish people voted to build their first Parliament in almost 300 years.
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Caption: The public entrance of the Scottish Parliament building, opened in October 2004.
The Holyrood site that was selected for the building showed evidence of occupation as far back as medieval times. There was an architectural competition for the building, and a Spaniard was chosen. His design concept was to show the relationship between the building and the surrounding landscape, with sustainability being the driving force. The site has won many architectural awards, but of course generated quite a bit of controversy when it cost ten times the original budget and ran three years behind schedule. Time to update the procurement model!
A full day trip to Glasgow for delegates and guests was a rousing success. We were able to visit three outstanding museums and celebrate the day with a traditional Burns dinner. Haggis anyone? Songs and poetry readings completed the evening. We left for Edinburgh singing “Auld Lang Syne.”
This was IAMFA's first return to Scotland since the previous conference there in 1998. I'm sure the number of participants was quite a bit larger this time.
This is a great organization with wonderful members and guests. I have great respect for all the hosts, and the planning they do for our conferences. The behind-the-scenes coordination and planning that takes place for more than a year always culminates in yet another fantastic conference. The joy is seeing old friends, and making new ones, while experiencing another interesting city.
I'm already scouting out what else to do in Chicago next September, when Bill Caddick wows us with the 2015 Conference.
Until then . . .
Nancy Evans lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with her husband Buck, who retired from the Smithsonian after 31 years. Nancy has a fast-paced job planning meeting trips from start to finish for domestic and international clientele visiting South Florida. Scotland was Nancy’s 14th IAMFA Conference. She can be reached at email@example.com
It’s Always a Pleasure — The 2014 IAMFA Conference Guest Program By Christine Coleman
Once again, it was an absolute pleasure to be part of a well-established group, which not only looks after its members superbly, but also the large contingency of personnel who come and look after their partners’ passports!
This is my fourth year accompanying Brian to the IAMFA Annual Conference, and I have to say that it only gets better with each passing year. Not only do I get to walk through some of the most beautiful buildings in the world, sleep in the most divine establishments, dine in the most unforgettable rooms (or as the case may be in Delaware–Longwood Gardens Conservatory), but I also meet many wonderful people who make both mine and Brian’s journey a memorable one.
The very full Guest Program on the Tuesday took us out through the rural areas of Scotland to the National Museum of Flight. To see and read the story of how the Scots managed to get a Concorde from London, down the Thames, then through the townships and countryside of Bonnie Scotland without a hitch, was amazing. We continued on our discovery tour and arrived at the Maitland Hotel in Haddington for a scrumptious lunch of local salmon, then finished the day with a visit to the famous Rosslyn Chapel.
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Caption: Rosslyn Chapel.
On Wednesday, we all had various activities we could attend in and around the beautiful Edinburgh District. It really is a very special place to visit and enjoy the history of a nation.
For me, the highlight this year was the Burns Supper. The Guest Program had taken us to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum earlier that day, but nothing could prepare me for the moment I looked down from the mezzanine balcony to see the foyer transformed into what would be our dining experience for the evening. I was overwhelmed by its grandeur, and the thought of experiencing what is a treasured and valued Scottish tradition.
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Caption: Preparations for the Burns Supper at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
To then hear the bagpipes piping in the haggis was the icing on the cake. A night that engaged all our senses, from the wonderful visual surroundings, the musical entertainment — and, of course, the consumption of the haggis — will always be a memory to share with friends.
It’s not always easy going overseas when you know your partner has his own schedule, and you have to find your own way around with people you don’t know. It is, however — and I hope will continue to be — a highlight of our year, as was this year as well, after having once again met, laughed, dined and cavorted with new and old friends.
I thank IAMFA for this opportunity of a lifetime, and look forward with great anticipation to carrying Brian’s passport to Chicago next year.
Christine Coleman lives in Melbourne, Australia, and with husband Brian has three children and two grandchildren. Chris works fulltime as a teacher assistant (Integration Aide) at a special school for students with mild intellectual disabilities, ages five to eighteen, and at the moment is building a website to support Integration Aides across Australia.
Preview of the 25th IAMFA Annual Conference in Chicago
By Bill Caddick and Patrick Jones
In 2015, IAMFA will celebrate its 25th anniversary. In 1990, George Preston, Director of Physical Plant at the Art Institute of Chicago, first saw the importance of founding a professional organization of museum facilities administrators and, along with colleagues from several other cities, laid the groundwork for the organization we know today. It is a fitting honor to George’s vision that this important milestone will be observed at the 2015 IAMFA Conference in Chicago.
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Caption: IAMFA Founder George Preston, former Director of Physical Plant at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Chicago of 2015 is vastly different from that of George Preston’s time. In 1990, the Loop — Chicago’s downtown — was a commercial district just recovering from the urban problems of the sixties and seventies. With the exception of a few cultural institutions, the center of the city was vacant at night.
A swath of railroad tracks running east of Michigan Avenue was a legacy of Chicago’s past as America’s railway hub. Chicago, which has always been the laboratory of American architecture, had only recently realized the importance of preserving its historically important buildings. Sadly, many important monuments to Chicago’s greatness — conceived by architects as notable as Sullivan, Burnham and Wright — were lost due to various failed “urban renewal” schemes.
The past 25 years in Chicago have been among the most exciting and revolutionary in the life of this great American city. In 1991, led by Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls basketball team won the National Basketball Association Championship for the first time. They went on to do so five more times during the next decade.
The United Center, home of the Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, was erected in celebration of this accomplishment. This stadium, prominent to air travellers flying above the city, is known as “the house that Jordan built.” In 1996, Bill Clinton was nominated for a second term as U.S. President in the United Center. It was the first presidential convention to be held in Chicago since the ill-fated events of 1968, and heralded the nation’s renewed love affair with the “Second City”. Chicago is also the hometown of U.S. President Barrack Obama, who began his career here as a community organizer.
Due to zoning changes in the 1990s, the Loop became a residential district for the first time. With the influx of new downtown residents became a busy place at all hours. The Theater District was formed and several large houses — including the Oriental Theater, the Cadillac Palace, the Bank of America Theater, the Goodman and the Auditorium Theater — found new life, and remain a vital component of the cultural life of the city.
The City of Chicago, in acknowledgement of its newfound status, undertook several dramatic projects to improve infrastructure. The Orange Line of the Chicago Transit Authority was opened, for the first time providing train service between Midway Airport and the Loop. Both of Chicago’s airports — Midway and O’Hare — now have train service, and “the El” remains the most time-efficient way to travel between the airports and downtown.
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Caption: The Chicago skyline today, with the Shedd Aquarium on the far left.
By far, the crowning achievement of this period was the opening of Millennium Park in 2004. This spectacle of landscape architecture replaced the aforementioned railyard east of Michigan Avenue. The park is anchored by the Jay Pritzker Pavilion: a monumental bandshell designed by architect Frank Gehry. Gehry was also the architect of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, which will be familiar to IAMFA members who attended the Conference there in 2005.
The Pritzker Pavilion is the site of numerous public concerts, and is the place where Chicago welcomes its returning heroes. Cloud Gate, an adjacent public sculpture by artist Anish Kapoor, is a continuing source of wonder to visitors. This sculpture, known by Chicagoans as “the bean”, has become as important a symbol of the city as the Sears Tower or Wrigley Field.
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Caption: Millennium Park, with Pritzker Pavilion connected to Grant Park by the Nichols Bridgeway.
Venues to Date for the 25th Conference
The Chicago Conference team has selected the Hyatt Regency Chicago as the event hotel for the 2015 IAMFA Conference. This hotel will be familiar to IAMFA members who attended the last Chicago conference in 2000. The Hyatt Regency is ideally located on the south bank of the Chicago River near Lake Michigan. It will allow our delegates and guests easy access to the Loop, as well as to North Michigan Avenue — known as the “Magnificent Mile” — which is Chicago’s famous shopping promenade.
The hotel affords beautiful views of the Chicago River, and such important architectural gems as the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower. The Hyatt Regency Chicago will be the venue for the Annual Benchmarking and Learning Workshop to be held on Sunday, September 20, 2015. We have negotiated a block of rooms for the conference, and when it becomes available, we’ll provide a link on the website’s Conference page for you to make your reservations.
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Caption: Hyatt Regency Chicago.
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is the second-largest encyclopedic fine art museum in the United States. The museum is situated at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams, which is the point of origin of the fabled Route 66. Route 66 — the “Mother Road” — originally ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. It is perhaps the most famous highway in American history, and has been celebrated in the works of artists as diverse as John Steinbeck and Nat “King” Cole. It is a Chicago tradition for visitors to have their picture taken by the old 66 sign across from the museum.
Located in Grant Park, the Art Institute occupies a two-block area. The Beaux-Arts base building, with its iconic bronze lions, was originally constructed as a lecture hall for the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893. Visitors are encouraged to read the popular novel The Devil in the White City by author Erik Larson for an exciting fictional account of the fair and its time. The museum has since expanded to a facility of over one million square feet (92,000 m²).
New to IAMFA delegates who attended the conference in 2000 is the Modern Wing, which opened in May 2009. Designed by Renzo Piano, and described by him as a “temple of light,” this new structure occupies a full quarter of the museum’s total plant area, and houses its Modern and Contemporary art collections. This building, with its distinctive use of daylighting and light-harvesting, will be of great interest to our delegates. The building mechanicals are creatively placed below a garden, and employ fan-wall technology air-handling systems. The Modern Wing is joined to Millennium Park by the Nichols Bridgeway, also designed by Piano. The Bridgeway allows visitors an easy transition between the natural beauty of the park and the museum’s collections.
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Caption: The Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In September 2014, the Art Institute learned that it had been named the No. 1 museum in the U.S. and in the world, according to the Travelers Choice awards announced by the travel website, TripAdvisor. With a staff of over 700 employees, the Art Institute is a “people’s favorite” and welcomes 1.4 million visitors a year. It is also known for its devoted membership of 98,000.
The Museum Campus
Located southeast of the Loop in Grant Park is the Museum Campus, which affords visitors a spectacular view of the city across Lake Michigan. Developed in the 1920s, the Museum Campus is home to the Field Museum of Natural History, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and Soldier Field — home of Chicago’s beloved National Football League team, the Bears.
The Field Museum of Natural History
One of the world’s largest natural history museums, the Field Museum also had its roots in the 1893 world’s fair. Named for the great Chicago merchant and philanthropist Marshall Field, the Museum opened in 1921 in its monumental, purpose-built facility. The Field welcomes as many as two million visitors a year.
In addition to its permanent exhibitions and ever-expanding collections, the Field Museum is considered a top-flight research facility with a large scientific staff. The Field’s most famous resident is Sue, the most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil in the world. The Field’s facilities staff is noted for their success in maintaining excellent conditions while preserving the Museum’s 1920s grandeur.
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Caption: The Field Museum of Natural History.
The Shedd Aquarium
It has been a few years since an IAMFA Conference has included a visit to an aquarium. The John G. Shedd Aquarium, which opened to the public in 1930, was the most-visited aquarium in the United States in 2005, and is one of Chicago’s most popular attractions. The five-million-gallon facility is perhaps best known for the Abbot Oceanarium, which opened in 1991. The Oceanarium is the largest indoor marine mammal facility in the world, featuring dolphins, beluga whales, sea lions and otters.
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Caption: The Shedd Aquarium at dawn.
Among Chicago cultural institutions, the Shedd Aquarium is the clear leader in sustainable and green facilities practices. In 2006, in a ceremony presided over by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Shedd was recognized as Chicago’s greenest museum.
The Adler Planetarium
Like the Shedd Aquarium, America’s first planetarium opened to the public in 1930, projecting the night sky onto an indoor dome with a projector developed by the Carl Zeiss Works. Today, the Adler boasts three full-sized auditoriums, a large collection of astronomical artifacts, and an important research facility. The Adler actively brings the stars to the people. One of your correspondents had the privilege of observing both occurrences of the Transit of Venus there, in 2004 and 2012. This phenomenon will not occur again until 2117, over a century from now.
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Caption: The Adler Planetarium.
Hyde Park, on Chicago’s South Side, is perhaps best known for the University of Chicago. The nearby Kenwood District was once home to President Obama. As a young man, past IAMFA president and conference host Bill Caddick began his career in the steam tunnels below the University. He was then known as “the kid.” Bill went on to become, at age 36, the youngest Facility Director in the history of the University.
The Museum of Science and Industry
Like the Art Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry occupies a facility originally constructed for the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893. The building was the Exhibition’s “Palace of Arts” and is one of the only remaining structures from “the White City.” The museum houses U-505 — one of the only German submarines to survive the Second World War — which was gallantly saved from scuttling by the U.S. Navy in 1944, when it was captured.
Also on display at the Museum is the Apollo 8 capsule: the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. Chicago-area native Jim Lovell was a crew member on the Apollo 8 mission, and went on to command Apollo 13, which was featured in Ron Howard’s 1995 film. It was Lovell who uttered the famous words, “Houston, we have a problem.”
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Caption: The Museum of Science and Industry.
The Museum of Contemporary Art
Located at the northern end of the Magnificent Mile is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). With its beginnings in the 1960s, the MCA currently houses an extensive collection of post-Second World War art objects. The MCA’s current facility, designed by architect Josef Paul Kleihues, opened to the public in 1996. In 2014, the MCA set new attendance records with its exhibition celebrating the life of pop sensation David Bowie.
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Caption: The Museum of Contemporary Art.
We will keep you updated in future issues of Papyrus, and on the website, with last-minute additions to venues we’ll visit for social activities, for the guest program, as well as information on the educational program for the Conference. We do plan on offering an optional extra day of tours on the Thursday of Conference week, and will provide details on that as soon as they are nailed down. Until then, please pencil September 20–24, 2015. We have a few surprises up our sleeve that we don't want you to miss.
Come see where IAMFA was born!
Bill Caddick is VP, Department of Physical Plant, and Patrick Jones is Manager, Off-Site Facilities and Energy at the Art Institute of Chicago. They will be our hosts for the 25th Annual IAMFA Conference.
2014 Benchmarking Practices and Learning Workshop
By Keith McClanahan
The 2014 Benchmarking Workshop was a special treat for those attending the IAMFA conference in Edinburgh, Scotland this year. In previous years, the workshop has been held in a hotel conference room, but this year the event was hosted by Jack Plumb and held in the Reading Room of the National Library of Scotland (NLS). Surrounded by the Library’s priceless collection, participants engaged in an active, spirited, dialogue to exchange best practices from their institutions. What a special venue!
“Benchmarking is more than data collection. The real value for the participants is in understanding how other organizations are doing similar jobs for less cost or with a higher quality,” says Keith McClanahan of Facility Issues. “That is really what the benchmarking workshop is all about.” The workshop provides a forum for networking, finding others with similar issues and opportunities, and sharing best practices that can be implemented by participants.
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Caption: Jack Plumb addresses attendees of the Benchmarking and Learning Workshop
Each institution was invited to make a short presentation on recent changes, issues, and what is going well. During this roundtable discussion, members get a good understanding of the problems at each institution, and it's always surprising to see how much they all have in common. Nearly everyone seems to have issues with attracting and retaining electricians, mechanics, building engineers, and janitorial staff. Some participants discussed training options that they had started to help with this shortfall. Others reported that they are using more contractors to supplement in-house staff. All agreed that this is a problem that is just going to get worse in future, as retirements accelerate and the existing workforce ages out.
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Caption: Kendra Gastright addresses attendees
Energy costs and their budgetary impact were also very hot topics. Most of the participants reported increased utility rates, along with more extreme weather. That combination increased both consumption and costs for many. We discussed options to create consortiums to leverage power purchases, water savings initiatives, recycling, and salvage programs.
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Caption: Attendees of the Benchmarking and Learning Workshop
Dave Samec, of the National Gallery of Art, discussed an ongoing filter evaluation project that was utilizing more compact rigid filters. All options are under consideration to achieve the energy reduction targets stipulated by an Executive Order. Dave also shared his humorous experience with social networking. On a very cold day at the National Gallery, a large plume of steam was visible. Twitter accounts mistakenly reported a smoke incident at the National Gallery, and Dave had to navigate through Twitter to learn about it. A quick show of hands indicated that Dave was not the only person in the room without a Twitter account; hardly anyone else present had one.
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Caption: Dave Samec discusses ongoing filter evaluation project
Jack Plumb provided both a presentation and a tour of the NLS mechanical spaces. One of the most significant reasons the NLS has achieved energy utilization reductions, is the wider range of operating temperatures and humidity that have been agreed to by the collections staff. Following consultation with NLS Collection Care colleagues, the Library decided on the following operational criteria:
15ºC (59ºF) to 20ºC (68ºF)
40% RH to 60% RH
The wider range of operating criteria and targeted mechanical system upgrades has significantly improved energy utilization at the NLS.
Jack discussed and presented the application of the Turbomiser Compressor. This machine has a compressor rotor held in a magnetic field, which means it is infinitely variable for load capability and contains no oil. All of the participants were able to tour the mechanical equipment rooms and see this compressor.
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Caption: Free-cooling heat exchanger at the National Library of Scotland.
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Caption: Turbomiser Compressor.
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Caption: Jack Plumb takes attendees on a tour of the NLS Plant.
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Caption: Bill Caddick reaches for ear plugs.
As often happens when touring a facility, some of the participants just cannot seem to keep their hands off the equipment. The equipment space is crowded, and it is easy to get distracted. Note the hearing protection dispenser on the wall in the photo at the right.
Can you guess how many facility managers it takes to replace the cover of the earplug dispenser? Just a note: Bill was not the only person who knocked it off.
One of the items we collect after every benchmarking workshop is a comment and feedback form. It was refreshing to read these comments and note that this was a rewarding and productive workshop for all attendees. Everyone indicated they would attend a workshop again, that the topics covered were relevant and useful, and that the workshop added value to the Conference. Participants said that this was one of the high points of the Conference and a great opportunity for networking.
Thanks to everyone who attended and helped make this a successful workshop.
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Caption: Keith McClanahan, Facility Bill Caddick reaches for ear plugs. Issues, Inc.
Keith McClanahan is Principal at Facility Issues Inc., which administers IAMFA’s Annual Benchmarking Exercise. Keith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The “Russian Doll” and Other Unique Fire Protection Approaches for Irreplaceable Collections
By Hal Davis
As architects and engineers specializing in museum facilities, we are often faced with requests from owners of rare collections to design facilities that meet requirements not covered by current codes or standards. One such instance involved work for the Library of Congress’ National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. A major benefactor had purchased the primarily underground and abandoned Richmond Federal Reserve emergency preparedness center, just outside Culpeper. The plan was to adapt the facility for use by the Library to house, conserve, and protect its vast collection of motion picture, broadcast, and recorded sound material.
This facility was to contain all of the Library’s collections in as sustainable an environment as possible — including their collection of highly combustible and explosive nitrate film. Because of the film’s volatility, NFPA 40 was specifically written to define how nitrate film must be stored, limiting not only the amount of nitrate film to be stored in each four-hour fire-rated vault, but also limiting the size of the vaults. What NFPA 40 also required was 100% outside air into each vault, without crossover to, or return through any other vault, in order to prevent contamination from spreading from one vault to the next.
This was, of course, highly inefficient in energy terms, especially considering that there would be 124 vaults. With our consulting engineers and the benefactor’s sponsorship, we designed a damper system, tested it through FM Global, gained the approval of the Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), and had the system accepted by NFPA as an acceptable nitrate-film storage alternative that enables return air to the vaults, thus saving major operational costs.
The system was also applied in the design of 122 nitrate storage vaults for the UCLA Film Archive in Santa Clarita. The UCLA facility was also financially supported by the same benefactor and was approved by the AHJs of both Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County. The damper system is available on the market for applications that require highly rated fire containment.
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Caption:Upper mechanical space of Nitrate Vaults.
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Caption: The Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center.
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Caption: Section at Nitrate Vaults.
Recently, we were asked by a major film studio to design their new film vaults, which would contain their “crown jewels.” With the request, came a strong desire not to have any water-suppression system — even pre-action systems — in their vaults. Water is highly detrimental to film, as well as to other collections. However, since AHJs have routinely required water-based suppression systems — at least as a back-up to a clean agent suppression system, as in the case of the Culpeper project for non-nitrate collections — we needed to develop a design that would be approved by the AHJ, while omitting water suppression within the vaults.
In considering the design and working with the studio and the AHJ, we felt that if the vaults could be designed in such a way that they would be completely insulated — without penetrations for structure or other utilities through the top of the vault enclosure — and made water tight, then we could place them inside an outer shell that was fully covered by a water based pre-action suppression system. Thus was born the idea of the “Russian Doll” design. The inner shell is protected with only a two-stage clean-agent suppression system, and the outer shell is protected by a pre-action water-based protection system.
Additionally, we structured the outer enclosure with deep trusses that spanned the insulated, watertight and structured vaults beneath. The depth of the truss gave us enough room for an interstitial space housing all of the high-performance mechanical/electrical equipment to meet required conditions in the vaults below and in adjoining personnel/processing spaces.
We covered the trusses and outer walls with economical enclosure materials, and made the resulting buffer a semi-conditioned space above the vaults. By providing circulation on the perimeter of the vaults, we further cushioned the impact of solar and weather conditions on the inner vaults. The outer skin of sloped metal roof and rain screen siding thus became the first line of defense against UV and weather migration, as well as intrusion. The exterior building skin extends the life of the waterproof membrane, and equalizes pressure differences between the inside and outside of the vaults.
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Caption: Section Through Vaults.
The box-within-a-box design also helped increase the seismic performance of the structure, enabling the design to exceed seismic code requirements. The lighter outer structure was designed with braced frames and larger footings to act separately from the inner concrete-insulated structure of the vaults.
The concept serves a multitude of purposes, including adding an extra layer of security, service circulation, increased insulation, moisture protection, and improved seismic response. The concept can be applied to any rare, irreplaceable collections.
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Caption: Exterior of studio’s film vaults.
Hal Davis, FAIA, is a Senior VP with SmithGroupJJr, and leads their Cultural Studio in Washington, D.C. He has over 35 years’ experience in the design and construction of technologically complex and highly technical facilities. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Climate Control of the Arnamagnæan Archive
By Tim Padfield, Morten Ryhl-Svendsen, Poul Klenz Larsen, Mette Jakobsen and Lars Aasbjerg Jensen
The small archive at the Arnamagnæan Institute is has almost completely passive air-conditioning, due to its placement between a corridor in the permanently warm Copenhagen University building in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the building’s outer wall. It is well insulated on the side next to the warm building, and thinly insulated towards the outside. As a result, its temperature is approximately one-third between the interior building temperature, and the average outside temperature.
The annual average temperature in the archive is above the annual average outside temperate, making the annual average relative humidity (RH) automatically lower than that outside at about 50%. The day-to-day RH remains steady throughout the year, because of humidity buffering on the walls, and by the hygroscopic content of the archive.
Fine control of RH is provided by pumping in outside air when it is, by chance, at the right water-vapour content to push the archive RH towards its target 50%. The pump’s energy consumption is negligible, but heat from the usually warmer building interior passes through the archive to the outside, so it does use energy. The RH has remained within the envelope of 48% to 58% over a period of 7 years. The temperature has varied within the range of 14–24°C with a gentle annual cycle.
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Caption: The building at Copenhagen University housing the Arnamagnæan Institute. The archive is the room behind the windowless portion of the long façade.
There is a small archive of medieval manuscripts in a building at Copenhagen University (Figure 1), with an unusual climate-control solution. It was designed from the outset not to use air conditioning. Instead, its relative humidity (RH) control relies on a combination of humidity-buffering from the archive’s contents, and a few degrees of winter heating due to leakage from the permanently warmed building that partially surrounds it.
The temperature varies throughout the year, being close to the inside temperature in summer, but around a third less than the indoor temperature in mid-winter. The amplitude of this annual temperature cycle is controlled by the relative thickness of the insulation against the building interior and against the outside air. A cutaway diagram of the construction is shown in Figure 2; the interior is shown in Figure 3; and a schematic drawing of the climate control principle is shown in Figure 4. In this article, we analyze the climatic performance of the archive since 2006.
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Caption: A cutaway diagram showing the structure of the archive. The insulation towards the interior of the building is thicker than the insulation on the outer walls.
The structure of the archive is reinforced concrete. Outside this structure, there is thermal insulation of varying thicknesses. Attached to the inside surface of the walls is a 50 mm layer of “gasbeton” blocks. This is a porous calcium-aluminium silicate with a fibrous structure. It is the best humidity buffer among orthodox construction materials.
The blocks have been coated with a single layer of silicate paint, which prevents dust while allowing air to diffuse into the blocks. The floor is concrete, hardened with fluosilicate. The ceiling is 4 layers of 13 mm gypsum board, with insulation above. The shelving is hard enamelled steel. The massive concrete walls were specified for physical rather than climatic security, but add useful heat capacity. The door opens into the office area, so air infiltration is mainly from the building rather than from the outside.
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Caption: A view of the interior of the archive. It measures 10 × 4 × 3 m high. The lobby is visible beyond the armoured and insulated door. The duct for pumped outside air is just visible above and to the left of the door.
The Climate Control Principle
Relative humidity is controlled by ensuring that the annual average temperature within the archive is about eight degrees above the annual average outside temperature. This will automatically give an average RH in the archive of around 50%.
Because the room is nearly airtight and full of humidity-buffering paper and parchment documents, the archive can cruise over long periods of disequilibrium between inside and outside water vapour concentration, without the RH changing much. This means that the winter temperature can be higher than the theoretical ideal value, and the summer temperature lower.
The archive temperature excess over ambient is kept low in summer and high in winter by the balance of heat flow into the archive from the inhabited building. The building surrounds four surfaces of the archive, and the heat flow to the outside is through the two exterior walls.
The insulation’s thickness has been calculated to ensure that the archive temperature is approximately the daytime temperature of the outside air in summer, decreasing to about fourteen degrees in winter. Without humidity buffering, this would give a low RH in winter of around 30%, and a high summer RH of around 70%. However, humidity buffering is provided by the archive construction and by the packaging materials, as well as by the archived items. This humidity buffering only works if the air infiltration rate is low. In this archive, it is about 0.1 air changes per hour.
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Caption: A perspective sketch showing how the archive temperature is set by competing heat flows through the interior and exterior walls. The RH is fine-tuned by pumping in air when by chance the outside air has suitable water-vapour content.
There is mechanical fine control of the climate to supplement the humidity buffering. Occasionally, particularly in summer, the water-vapour content of outside air, if pumped into the archive, will push the interior RH towards the 50% target. The pump increases the air exchange rate from 0.1 to about 0.5 per hour. It is activated by the building management computer.
Sensors inside the archive and outside the building first calculate the moisture content of air at the target value 50% RH, as well as the current archive temperature. Then the actual water-vapour content is calculated for both inside and outside air, using relative humidity and temperature sensors. If the outside water-vapour content is closer to the target than the inside concentration, the pump is activated. It passes outside air through a filter for dust and pollutants, then releases it at the far end of the room, to exhaust through a vent near the door.
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Caption: The year 2010 in the archive. The red segments of the RH trace at the top indicate periods when outside air was pumped in to raise the air exchange rate from 0.1 per hour to 0.5 per hour. The shaded strips identify major pumping events, and show how they correlate with the difference in water-vapour content between the outside and the archive air. The dashed horizontal line marks the target RH.
The balance of water-vapour content inside and out is shown in Figure 5 as shaded areas above and below the zero line. Shading above the line indicates excess water vapour in the outside air. The energy used by the pump is negligible, but the heat energy moving through the exterior walls of the archive amounts to about 14 kWh/m3 per year.
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Caption: A record of the archive climate over the past seven years, compared with the monthly average outside temperature and the outside temperature span. The spikes show the climate in the conservator's office when the logger was retrieved to extract its data.
Comparison of Measured Results and Theoretical Performance
There is an excess of water vapour within the archive, averaged over the year. To investigate this mystery, we have to look at the mixing ratio of the inside and outside air masses.
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Caption: The mixing ratio of the air outside and inside the archive.
The average mixing ratio inside should be the same as outside; otherwise, there must be an independent addition of water to the inside air. This seems to be the case. The outside-to-inside mixing ratios were 44:56. This is the ratio of areas under the curves in Figure 7. The most significant infiltration is from the corridor, and from the adjacent office. Also, workers within the archive will add water vapour directly.
An unventilated room will accumulate carbon dioxide from people within it. The archive is active, but not busy. Items are fetched for study in the adjacent reading room. The spikes of carbon dioxide are detectable, and the concentration is continuously monitored for both safety of people and security against unauthorised entry. Typically, there is one visit per day; this usually only raises the concentration to 600 ppm, which is acceptable. The limit for permanently occupied spaces is generally put at 1000 ppm, depending on local building regulations. The RH also rises briefly, but is buffered by absorption into the archive materials.
Pollution from outside is intercepted by a carbon filter in the pumping system. Pollution generated internally — principally acetic acid vapour — is absorbed by recirculation through the same carbon filter.
Conformity with Standards
At the time the archive was designed, the internationally influential standard for archives was British Standard BS5454:2000. The temperature specification was very strict: choose any temperature between 16 and 19°C, then apply a variation limit of ±1°C to that temperature. The RH allowance was 35% to 60%, with ±5% around the chosen target. The archive nearly achieves the RH standard. Recently, the guidance has been relaxed considerably, but not enough to retro-regularise the temperature in this archive. PD5454:2012 allows a temperature span from 13°C to 20°C for sensitive collections.
The archive temperature exceeds this upper limit for nearly a quarter of the time. The effect on the chemical degradation rate is approximately compensated by the lower winter temperature: the same fraction of the time is below 17°C. The minimum temperature was 13.5°C. The span of the annual cycle is typically eleven degrees.
The 20°C upper limit advised by PD5454 has no particular significance for the chemical or physical stability of artifacts, yet it is already used as a firm specification. One should instead follow the normal building engineers' practice of specifying a temperature that can be achieved while the local weather is within its normal range, while accepting that the outside temperature will be unusually high for short periods.
For Northern Europe, a reasonable design target for passive climate control of archives would be 25°C. This is achievable without mechanical aid, whereas 20°C is not easily achieved. Such a limit is advocated in the joint declaration of the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) and the conservation committee of the International Council Of Museums (ICOM-CC). This declaration (IIC 2014) endorses previously existing guidelines which set temperature limits at 16–25°C (BIZOT) and 15–25°C (AICCM & AIC).
The archive has performed well in providing a moderate climate. The RH has remained within 6% of 50% for the past seven years. This good performance is not entirely attributable to the cunning design. The winter temperature is higher than it should be theoretically, but works because the infiltrating air has been humidified by human activity within the building. The weather-dependent pumping of outside air has contributed largely to keeping the RH down during the vulnerable summer period.
The approximately ten-degree-amplitude smooth annual cycle presents no scientifically documented danger to the collection. The 14°C minimum in winter presents a small danger of transiently high RH at the object surface, when it is taken out to the reading room. However, a brief acclimatisation in an airtight insulated bag will entirely eliminate this risk.
This principle of running the archive with a temperature cycle that rises to about the same as outside during the summer but remains much warmer than ambient in winter has also been applied to free-standing archives. In this case, it is necessary to maintain a minimum temperature of around 14°C in winter, depending on the local climate. Only thermostat control is necessary; the buffering by the archived material will automatically ensure a stable and moderate RH throughout the year. A systematic treatment of the physics of low-energy climate control in archives and museum storage is given in Padfield et al 2013. A more detailed account of the Arnamagnæan archive climate can be found in the references below.
A longer version of this article is available at: http://www.conservationphysics.org/arna/arnamag2014.pdf
For a systematic treatment of low energy climate control in museum stores and archives, please see:
Tim Padfield, Poul Klenz Larsen, Morten Ryhl-Svendsen and Lars Aasbjerg Jensen. (2013). “Low energy museum storage” (in press). Papers delivered at the Paris conference of the Centre de recherche sur la conservation des collections, October 2013. www.conservationphysics.org/storage/low-energy-museum-storage.php
IIC, 2014. “IIC announces declaration on Environmental Guidelines”, https://www.iiconservation.org/node/5168 (accessed at 2014-10-05).
Tim Padfield is a freelance microclimate consultant living in Devon, United Kingdom: firstname.lastname@example.org. Morten Ryhl-Svendsen is associate professor at the School of Conservation in Copenhagen: email@example.com. Poul Klenz Larsen is senior consultant for historic buildings at the National Museum of Denmark: Poul.firstname.lastname@example.org. Mette Jakobsen is conservator for the Arnamagnæan Collection: email@example.com. Lars Aasbjerg Jensen is climate specialist at the National Museum of Denmark: Lars.firstname.lastname@example.org
IAMFA Peer Recognition Award
By Tiffany Myers
The IAMFA Board of Directors is excited to announce the kickoff of a Peer Recognition Awards Program as part of IAMFAs 25th Anniversary in 2015. This is an opportunity for IAMFA members to recognize significant contributions made by their peers that further the goals of our organization.
The peer recognition program will be led by Tiffany Myers of the Smithsonian Institution, along with a small committee of IAMFA members. This will be the first member-managed award within IAMFA to recognize our finest members and their contributions to our organization. The other three awards — the George Preston Memorial, Lifetime Achievement, and IAMFA Diplomat Awards — are all overseen by the IAMFA Board.
The committee will accept nominations until March 31, 2015. Please consider nominating an IAMFA peer who has made significant contributions in furthering the field of facilities management in cultural institutions.
Eligibility is simple:
• Who can receive an award?
• ALL IAMFA members
• No one may nominate:
• Oneself or family member or partner
• Current Peer Recognition Award Committee Members
Nominations will be rated and ranked based on how the activity or accomplishment furthers the field of facilities management in cultural institutions. If you have questions about the IAMFA Peer Recognition Program, please contact one of the following:
•Tiffany Myers, Smithsonian Institution — (202) 633-5689 or email@example.com
Adrienne Jackson, Smithsonian Institution — Jacksonad@si.edu
Neal Graham, Library of Congress — firstname.lastname@example.org
Cecily Grzywacz, National Gallery of Art — email@example.com
Dan Mackenzie, Steensen Varming — Dan.Mackenzie@steensenvarming.com
Nominations must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2015. To submit a member for consideration, please send a completed IAMFA Peer Nomination form (found on the IAMFA website’s Members Only Page) via email to Tiffany Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tiffany Myers is Executive Assistant to the Director and Deputy Director, Office of Facilities Engineering and Operations, at the Smithsonian Institution, and is Chair of the IAMFA Peer Recognition Awards Committee.
Best Practices — Patch-to-Match: Art or Science?
By Robert Weinstein and Judith Capen
“Patch-to-match” is too easy to say, and too hard to accomplish. We’ve all seen this note on drawings, in specs, and heard people in the field say it while waving an arm.
Our challenge was to patch and reconstruct elements of exposed aggregate concrete which had been described in superlatives in the 2001 Meridian Hill Park Cultural Landscape Report: remarkable integrity . . . masterful sureness of design and construction . . . unprecedented at the time . . . distinguishing Meridian Hill as a nationally significant historic resource.
This concrete surpasses any typical today: visually, in durability, and in fineness of detail. Add to the challenge that the concrete is in a National Historic Landmark — one of less than 20 historic designed landcapes in nearly 2,300 National Historic Landmarks.
Why Should You Be Interested In This?
Our museums occupy ever-older buildings. Often, they are parts of the collections themselves. Everyone curating buildings is faced with challenges of making seamless repairs. While not everyone has to match early 20th century exposed aggregate concrete, our firm’s experience patching-to-match at Meridian Hill Park illustrates a methodology that can be applied to other materials.
We first worked on Meridian Hill Park (MHP) in 1999, authoring a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) for the National Park Service (NPS). The CLR was not our first involvement with the Park. We had visited and marveled at the extraordinary concrete from 1979, and even discovered that family members had visited the park in 1941.
In 2000, we began working with the NPS on a series of projects to reverse the effects of underfunded maintenance for parks during World War II and the Cold War. Urban poverty, crime, and drugs all took their toll on park and city.
One of our projects at the Park was repairing its exposed aggregate concrete: one of the earliest applications of that kind of concrete. Concrete is used throughout the Park architecturally to shape the site into a 16th century Italian Renaissance hill garden with a bit of French formal tossed in. The concrete was intended to evoke richly carved stone as found in those landscapes. Which it does, amazingly.
Concrete is used for every aspect of design in MHP. Walls are extraordinarily varied, ranging from 6” curbs to a 17’ high retaining wall. Some are simple in design and profile‘ others are curved, with built-in, molded seats, punctuated with sections of balusters, or topped with scrolls, urns, and obelisks.
Exposed aggregate concrete also forms walkways and stairs, freestanding benches, highly articulated niche fountains, freestanding fountain basins, and the sensational forced perspective cascades, which drop 40 feet.
Our projects covered work on all concrete in the Park, both functional and ornamental, all of which is integral to the Park’s Neoclassical design.
Over two years, we were able to replicate and develop methods allowing a contractor to patch-to-match historical concrete, and to replace concrete not replicated or patched successfully since completion of the Park in 1936.
The major steps in the process were:
Contract documents incorporating lessons learned
This is not “low-bid” friendly, nor does it lend itself to crisis response.
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Caption: Example of concrete survey.
Survey, Documentation, and Typing of Existing Conditions
Create typology of failures and locate them in the park
To understand the extent and nature of material failures threatening the historical fabric, our first step involved exhaustive, and exhausting, surveys of the entire 12-acre site. Over a period of months, in temperatures ranging from too hot to too cold, we surveyed every crack and instance of concrete failure in the Park.
We created typologies of failures, locating, measuring, describing, and quantifying each on horizontal and vertical surfaces as well as on decorative elements, using definitions from Guide for Making a Condition Survey of Concrete in Service (1992). The list covered all of the original/historical and replacement concrete, and included virtually every type of concrete failure possible.
We gave each failure a unique name and a series of alpha-numeric designations to describe the deterioration, magnitude, and difficulty of repair. For example, C-123 F-3 is the 123rd crack identified, appears fixable, and is a wide crack. Each failure was located on a plan and described in detail in a schedule.
In all, we documented more than 2,000 individual failures.
Identifying concrete mixes and patterns (aggregate types, sizes, colors)
By the time the Park was completed in 1936, the vertical elements were still the original buff-colored exposed aggregates, but horizontal surfaces had become explorations of texture, color, and pattern.
We identified 17 different pavement and curb patterns in the Park, listing them with primary aggregate types and locations, locating joints and changes in surface and pattern. In all, we identified 4 aggregate types and 22 mixes.
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Caption:Example of pavementpattern survey.
Assessing repair difficulty
As we surveyed, we assessed each defect using the following criteria:
Replace — to nearest control joint
Missing section of concrete along wide crack
Coping with Limited Budgets: Establishing Priorities
The NPS never has enough money to do everything, so we needed an objective way to decide what to do first. We created an evaluation matrix with 88 deficiency categories across 5 impact/value of repair factors. Each deficiency category was given a 1–10 score in each of the 5 factors. We tallied the scores, and the higher the score the greater the priority.
To establish the 5 impact/value of repair factors, we developed a repair philosophy with three things propelling a failure to the top of the priority list: safety, stitch-in-time, and high visibility.
Safety is high value in any public place. Tripping hazards, often at heaved or settled paving, and the possibility of pieces of concrete falling from overhead, were the major potential concerns at MHP.
Our “stitch-in-time” factor addressed highly cost-effective yet modest efforts to slow any deterioration that could lead to catastrophic failure. Sealing today’s small cracks to exclude water and slow down freeze-thaw cycles is economical, doable, and extremely cost-effective.
Failures on highly visible and distinctive features threatened the visual and historical integrity of this National Historic Landmark. Examples included missing pieces of prominent fountain bowls or balusters. These repairs were high priority.
Although this system arrives at seemingly common-sense results, it gave the NPS, a government agency, confidence that they were spending taxpayers’ money responsibly. The Park Service’s final list of priorities was: crack repairs; decrease stair-tripping hazards; and protect Park integrity by replacing severely deteriorated piers, patching fountain bowls and balusters with missing bits, and cleaning all the concrete.
Material Science Analysis, Evaluation
While some of the failures seemed pretty predicable in old concrete, we nonetheless needed to eliminate potential, more exotic, deterioration mechanisms. If present and left unchecked, the concrete would continue to deteriorate at an accelerating rate. We contracted a concrete testing laboratory that took two concrete core samples for analysis, to compare the physical and chemical components of concrete in good condition, with some exhibiting advanced deterioration.
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Caption:Some of the Park's decorative concrete.
Happily, this testing eliminated the most worrisome potential deterioration mechanism (alkali-silica reaction) as a root cause. It also provided important information on the size, spacing, and color of the aggregate.
Historical Research to Understand Original Methods
The more one studies MHP, the more extraordinary it is. While an Italian Renaissance Hill Garden in the capital of the world’s longest-lived modern democracy is odd, even odder is that an idealized 16th century design was executed in the early 20th century in a new, plastic material. It is curious that concrete, newly rediscovered in the modern era, was used to replicate cut, tooled, and carved blocks of stone. Finally, it is wonderful that MHP’s original design team pioneered exposed aggregate concrete in this early application so successfully, creating an installation that remains impressive today in both its aesthetic accomplishments and its durability.
The designers of the Park began in 1915 with the modest desire for concrete to be an economical substitute for cut stone. But the first test panel was described by themas “cold,” “grey,” and “muddy.”
Innovation was clearly needed.
Enter John J. Earley and the Earley Studio. Young John Earley trained in sculpture and stone carving in his father’s studio, becoming known for his work in plaster and stucco before his involvement with the Park’s construction. At first, everyone thought the solution to the problems of “cold,” “grey,” muddy,” concrete would be to coat or stucco it, thus Earley.
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Caption:The 16th Street entrance built by John Earley.
This was the beginning of John Earley’s lifelong love affair with making concrete decorative. He understood concrete’s components — cement, sand, and aggregate — from his work with stucco, and began experimenting.
From our work on the CLR, we knew Earley had developed methods for pouring and finishing concrete, little resembling today’s standards, to achieve the Park’s warmly buff-colored walls with different aggregates in a single pour.
We knew the aggregate, Potomac River pebbles, was critical to the wall color. We knew Earley had invented something he called “step” or “gap” grading for the aggregate. Instead of the “well-graded” aggregate typical in both his and our day, Earley graded his aggregate basically as large and small to get more density of stone when exposed.
We knew Earley experimented with mix proportions and, especially, amounts of water. A wetter mix allowed him to fill complex forms to achieve the precision of detail evidentthroughout the Park. He also had strategies to remove this added water and, finally, he stripped the formwork early, when the concrete was green and the cement haze could be easily scrubbed off the aggregate.
We had the theory, but needed practical methods.
Slogging: Trials and Mockups for Replicable Methods
Priorities established, we had to develop methods for the different types of repairs needed. We considered a trial repair successful if realistically achievable and a good match to adjacent concrete.
Distinct categories of repair to master included: cleaning, crack repairs, reconstruction, and patching.
Dirty concrete isn’t conventionally high priority, but is important both to improve appearance, and to ensure that repairs match clean, not dirty, adjacent concrete.
We documented surface soiling, organic growth, calcium deposits (some very three-dimensional), and graffiti.
Historical preservation canon is to use the gentlest means possible for cleaning. The days of wanton sandblasting and powerful chemicals are long gone. We began test-cleaning with water, detergent, and bristle brushes, and progressed through cold and hot pressure washes and various commercial cleaners.
We tested D/2 and Roundup (effective on moss with a two-week dwell time!) for organic growth.
Finally, we tried Jos, a blasting system with a helical pattern. Ultimately, this was the only system able to remove the calcium deposits and graffiti without damaging historical fabric.
Stitch-in-time: Test crack repairs
Successful methods we tested included micro-injection at narrow vertical cracks, cementations materials at wider vertical cracks and spalls, and a two-stage full-penetration injection with low-viscosity vinyl ester, topped with flexible acrylic resin, at larger cracks.
The most-damaged walls were those with hairline-cracked tops, pretty clear freeze/thaw causality, so we tested a clear breathable sealer for top horizontal surfaces — wall copings and pier caps — to protect against future water infiltration.
By far, our toughest challenge was re-creating Earley’s concrete in quality and appearance.
To succeed, we had to re-create mixes and methods. Concrete mixes haven’t changed in the past hundred years. However, historical records for the Park showed that Earley had considered some less conventional cement/sand/aggregate proportions. We knew they looked at/experimented with different cement colors and aggregate density, all to achieve the character-defining and striking exposed aggregate concrete we find today. Once we nailed down those variables, we had to re-create Earley’s specific methods. How the heck did he achieve single-pour walls with two or three different aggregate sizes exposed? How did he achieve the fineness/delicacy of detail in site-cast CONCRETE?
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Caption:Graph of aggregate sizesillustrating the “gap-grading” John Earleydeveloped to achieve density and uniformityof aggregate when exposed by scrubbing.
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Caption:Everydayexample of gap grading.
Bob Armbruster, who has experience with a number of John J. Earley sites, was a key consultant for concrete matching: creating appropriate mix designs, finding sources for materials, and developing methods. We selected 12 of the most widely used mixes in the Park — some precast, some cast-in-place, and some pavement — for the target mixes.
Armbruster took samples, sometimes removing loose fragments, and core drilling at other times.
The search for aggregates
Since the exposed aggregate provides the concrete’s color, finding matching aggregates was critical, but surprisingly difficult.
The original buff coarse aggregates were from the Potomac River, at a site now under Washington’s National Airport. Even if still accessible, we wouldn’t be allowed to dredge for gravel, because dredging in rivers like the Potomac with contaminated sediments is prohibited.
Armbruster’s search for aggregate was comprehensive, and lasted 6 months. Finding matching aggregates required science, art, and persistence, involving:
• Consulting the leading national distributor of decorative aggregates, who identified two dozen potential quarries
• Contacting aggregate associations and state geologists in 3 adjacent states
• Searching 250 photographs of decorative aggregates
• Contacting terrazzo supply houses for samples from their libraries; traveling to 2 libraries
• Ordering 100–200-pound bags of the 12 best candidates
• Calling all quarries and stone suppliers listed in phone books near the quarries with the best candidates
• Visiting 6 active quarries
• Comparing more than 700 samples
• Making 50 different mixes from the best; choosing 7 matching the target mixes
Once we had target aggregates, petrographic examination compared the new stone to the historical, which is helpful for aggregate size and color. The human eye has to evaluate color, texture, translucency or opacity, reflectance, and appearance when wet, dry, and embedded.
Finding fine aggregates was not difficult. Original specs called for white sand, without specifying size, type, or gradation. Petrography identified the sand in all the samples as primarily white quartz, with bits of clear and light-brown quartz and fractional amounts of other minerals. Acid digestion and sieve analysis established sand gradations in each mix. Massaponax concrete sand was the best color match, but had to be custom-sieved for proper gradation.
Mix Proportioning: The concrete at MHP is gap-graded — its aggregate is fine and coarse, with nothing between. When densely packed and proportioned just right, the coarse aggregate is exposed and the surface appears to be a mosaic of uniformly sized stones. Too much sand, or non-uniform placement, won’t look densely packed. Inadequate sand and/or poorly consolidated concrete will cause voids or honeycombing between the coarse aggregate.
Cement: The Earley Studio used white cement from the Atlas Portland Cement Company, now produced by Lehigh Portland Cement Company, which we ultimately specified for the repairs.
Coloring admixtures: The historical concrete varied in color, hue, and intensity at different locations. Armbruster recommended that color variations of the cement paste be matched to adjacencies with mineral pigments. He provided a palette of 15 cement -paste reference samples with varying amounts of pigments.
Repair mixture proportions: Historical specifications required mixes of 1:2:4, 1:1.5:4, and 1:1:3 — cement, sand, and coarse aggregate. But these mixes did not produce the tight packing of the coarse aggregate in the Park. Armbruster experimented with reducing the volume of sand and cement until the finish appearance matched, creating 7 different mix proportions for 12 samples.
Testing methods: mockups and trial construction
Filling cracks was one thing, but replicating one of the historical piers was another challenge altogether.
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Caption: Core sample.
In addition to demonstrating that it is possible to develop concrete mixes to match the historical ones at MHP with currently available materials, we also needed to prove it possible to cast exposed aggregate concrete with the same extraordinary detail and crispness of line that Earley and other contractors achieved at this site 80 years ago.
Four deteriorated piers at the north entrances to the Park looking almost melted from freeze-thaw cycling. They were candidates for replication. Some fountain basins and a few balusters with significant missing concrete were candidates for patch-to-match. A number of walkways and steps needed to be replaced in part or whole.
We began with the pier 102, deteriorated beyond any possibility of repair. After documenting it, we recruited a masonry restoration contractor to reconstruct it.
Before work began in the Park, the contractor made mortar-tight formwork, screened the aggregate (stone and sand), and gathered required materials. In the shop, he made several mock-ups, partial and full, before trying one in the field. We discovered the mix used in the small samples would not work for a full pier, so had to reduce the coarse aggregate. Placing the concrete with five-gallon buckets, and consolidating with hand tamping, produced the best results.
Demolition revealed the reinforcing in the pier to be in such good condition that we just cleaned it, coated it with a zinc-rich primer, and reused it — like a dental cap.
In hopes of forestalling future cracking at the top we replaced that reinforcing with a grid of stainless steel.
Form release was clearly critical to achieving the extraordinarily detailed forms of the Park. Earley Studio records indicated that they used animal fat and soapstone to produce a mild retarder, but we used modern, commercially available agents. The form was belted together at the top and braced.
The Earley Studio placed concrete using an adjusted slump method, pouring the first lift with a wet mix, and subsequent pours with progressively stiffer mixes.
Not embracing this method, the concrete industry today relies on mechanical vibration for the same result. We used the modern method for our test.
Depending on temperature and humidity, we thought the concrete would need 12–18 hours to cure enough to strip the forms, with the concrete still green enough to be tooled and scrubbed. Therefore, the contractor placed the concrete in the evening, in order to strip the forms early the next morning for daylight.
All materials were carefully measured at the site, and batched by weight to calibrate to a half-bag of cement to match mixer capacity.
Concrete was dumped into the form from five-gallon buckets then consolidated using 2x4s and 1x4s with special care so the aggregate was in contact with the form. The contractor built a view port in the form to check on the curing.
They removed the forms top down, starting at 5:30 a.m. the next morning. The “scrubbing” began at the bottom where the concrete was more set up, with hand-brushing and rinsing. Because the concrete set up faster than anticipated, the contractor pressure washed with 1,600 psi, straight tip, 1–2 inches from the surface.
The concrete popped off in one corner of the rustication when the formwork was stripped. All the other surfaces and corners were fine. This lost corner provided an opportunity to demonstrate patching techniques later.
Since the trial was in November, the pier was wrapped in plastic sheeting and covered with an insulating blanket after scrubbing. We anticipated leaving the wrapping on for two weeks for a slow cure, but the blanket was stolen. Luckily the weather was mild and damp and the exposed concrete cured well, illustrating how random factors can derail the best-laid plans.
After a January corner-patching failed, we tried again in March and warmer weather. The contractor’s stone restoration specialist set a threaded stainless steel rod in epoxy, undercut the adjacent concrete for for a good mechanical bond, and saturated the area. He then hand-placed a very dry mix matching that of the pier. He used a small section of the formwork to shape the patch. He put selected aggregate in the cement piece-by-piece. When the patch was stiff enough, he gently scrubbed it with a bristle brush to expose the aggregate. It then air-cured.
In May, when water was turned on in the Park, the contractor returned and lightly washed the entire pier with a 1:10 solution of muriatic acid, using bristle brushes to remove the fine film of cement residue on the surface of the stones. Then the pier was rinsed with lots of water.
The experiment was a success.
Documentation: Creating a Record of Methods
We methodically documented the condition of the concrete, and proved that cleaning, sealing of horizontal joints, and test patching of joints and small spalls were all feasible, and described how. Armbruster thoroughly documented the process of searching for the materials, screening for properly-sized aggregate and sand, developed mixes, and created a library of samples. Our testing contractor brought it all together at the pier and patch, proving replication feasible. This documentation provided a solid foundation for contract documents for the Park’s concrete restoration.
Contract Documents: Incorporating Lessons Learned
Phase I, stitch-in-time crack sealing, began concrete restoration at the Park. Phase II included more complex repairs and replication/reconstructions of concrete.
Our 99 sheets of drawings for the two phases incorporated our surveys locating and describing every crack and how it was to be filled. Phase II described repair and replacement of pavement, steps and curbs and repairs of spalls and larger failures, including a baluster, part of a fountain bowl, and, of course, partial and full replacements of piers.
Our specifications for the work incorporated lessons learned from the successful tests and mock-ups. While good results with available materials were proven possible, it still wasn’t a cookbook project.
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Caption:Wedocumented Pier 102, includingdetailed measured drawings.
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Caption:Mappingcracks and spalls in Pier 102.
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Caption: Finished test pier. Photo: architrave p.c., architect
The many different conditions at the Park due to a multitude of deterioration types, the variety of aggregates/mixes, variables of temperature and humidity affecting curing times, and an ever-changing availability of materials, all made construction a shifting set of targets. Even vagaries of season and operation, such as when water is available at the Park, can affect the work.
Armbruster’s small samples and mixes created a starting point to develop specific mixes for each repair condition, but each contractor still needed enough time to develop his own samples and techniques.
Getting good work is not easy or inexpensive, but IS possible with careful preparation and a clear understanding of the variables.
Once the contractor was on the site, the end of this patch-to-match trial was in sight.
A testament to all the preliminaries, construction went fairly smoothly, with the main glitches unrelated to the technical concrete work. One pier looked great but was seriously out of plumb, and bench boards were prematurely removed “to look like progress” meaning no freestanding benches in the Park for months and months.
Interestingly, while the patch-to-match directive can be meaningless, it was actually an effective mechanism in the construction of MHP in the 1920s and 1930s.
John J. Earley, the Park’s concrete genius, worked closely with other contractors to build the first elements in the Park to exacting standards. Later specifications for Park construction included the directive “to match the physical and visual characteristics” of previously built sections. They did, too.
We visited the Park recently, on a beautiful spring day in 2014. The Park was teeming with people, and a vibrant drum circle provided background beat. Our concrete repair work, fountain restoration, and shelter reconstruction all looked wonderful. The patches were impossible to find. We wouldn’t have known the reconstructed piers weren’t original without looking really closely. And the bare grass on the upper mall from the Frisbee, soccer, and lacrosse players attested to the place of this landmark park in the life of the city and neighborhood. Even a quick look shows the Park is flourishing, both socially and physically.
Ten years after we finished our work in the Park, work continues. John Earley’s 16th Street entrance is scaffolded and being restored, using methods and mixes we developed, repaying the initial investment in investigation.
Bob Armbruster, The Armbruster Company, Inc.
C.A. Lindman, Inc.
Concrete Technology Laboratories
The survey interns
Robert Weinstein, RA, and Judith Capen, RA, are principals and co-founders of architrave p.c., architects. Since 1982, architrave has worked on Washington, D.C. landmarks including Meridian Hill Park, the U.S. Capitol Building, Library of Congress buildings, the Holocaust Museum, all the Federal Triangle Federal buildings, and all the Smithsonian Mall buildings. They can be reached at Robert.email@example.com and Judith.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional Chapter Updates
Washington, D.C.–Baltimore Regional Chapter
By Maurice Evans
The final Washington, D.C.–Baltimore Chapter meeting during my term as Chapter Chair was held on July 25 at the Smithsonian’s new Mathias Lab, located at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Maryland. Over 20 people were present, representing 6 different agencies and cultural institutions.
The meeting kicked off with an introduction of visitors and members. Chapter business was discussed, and after lunch the program prepared by Daren Kennedy, the Zone Manager of the SERC Zone began. The program showcased the newly completed Mathias Lab, its operations, construction and sustainability. The Mathias Lab is a 128,000-square-foot sustainable state-of-the-art environmental research facility that utilizes both solar and geothermal energy. There are plans to submit a package to the USGBC for LEED platinum certification.
The presentation was given by Steve Groh, Project Manager for the Smithsonian, and Bob Gallagher, Executive Officer for SERC, on how collaboration and partnering by all parties made the project a success.
The tour included a walk through the Central Utility Plant to give all an opportunity to see the geothermal systems, solar hot-water systems and several other key aspects of the building, including some of the lab areas and the grounds.
John Bixler and Dennis Smalley will be taking over the reins as co-Chairs for the Washington, D.C.–Baltimore Chapter for the upcoming year. The next meeting is scheduled to take place at Folger Shakespeare Library, hosted by David Conine.
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Caption:Charles “Mac” Mathias Laboratory with Chapter meeting attendees. Photo: Dan Davies
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Meeting attendees. Photo: Dan Davies
IAMFA Museum Conference Tour Gift Receives Multiple Awards
Mueller Associates, Quinn Evans Architects Team Up for “Go Wild” Campaign at Fall 2013 Zoo Day in Washington, D.C.
Baltimore, Maryland — August 5, 2014
A creative giveaway item for attendees at the International Association of Museum Facility Administrators (IAMFA) 2013 Conference in Washington, D.C. has won multiple awards from the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). The brightly colored snack bag was given to participants who toured the National Zoological Park as part of the Conference’s “Zoo Day” event. The bags were created and donated by IAMFA sponsors Mueller Associates and Quinn Evans Architects.
The giveaway included a bright orange cooler bag, custom-designed snack packages, a branded water bottle, and a promotional card with a “Wild Expectations/Go Wild” theme. The theme was developed by Mueller Associates and Quinn Evans Architects to underscore their experience with challenging design projects. In addition to numerous museum and library projects throughout the East Coast, the team has several projects underway at the Zoo.
At the SMPS National Conference in San Antonio in July, the project was awarded Second Place in the Tradeshow Marketing category. The snack bag was a winner among 210 entries submitted to the SMPS Marketing Communications Awards program nationwide.
Regionally, the Washington, D.C. chapter of SMPS awarded the campaign its “People’s Choice” award, along with an Honorable Mention in Tradeshow Marketing. The awards have been presented to Jessica Reid, Director of Business Development for Mueller Associates, and Jeanine Quaglia, principal and Director of Marketing for Quinn Evans Architects. Both Reid and Quaglia are members of SMPS.
Smithsonian Institution representatives, who served as hosts for the “Zoo Day” event, noted that “the orange cooler bags were a huge hit. Not only were the cooler bags practical, but it made it very easy to see the members and guests as they walked around the National Zoological Park.”
About Mueller Associates
Established in 1966, Mueller Associates provides mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering services for facilities throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The firm specializes in engineering for academic buildings, museums, libraries, performing arts centers, healthcare settings, and other institutional and corporate facilities requiring stringent environmental control, energy-conserving, and sustainable designs. For more information, visit www.muellerassoc.com.
About Quinn Evans Architects
Established in 1984, Quinn Evans Architects specializes in architecture, planning, urban revitalization, and historic preservation, including sustainable preservation and stewardship. The firm has more than 60 professionals in offices in Washington, D.C., and Ann Arbor, Michigan; and studios in Detroit, Michigan, and Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.quinnevans.com.
Philadelphia Regional Chapter Update
By Rich Reinert
A meeting of the Philadelphia Regional Chapter took place on November 4, 2014, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Perelman Building. The meeting was highly productive, as members discussed a variety of topics, including work order systems, branding, and tight budgets, to name a few.
Tozour-Trane, along with Cooney Coil & Energy, gave a presentation on new chilled-water coil, freeze-block technology. Tozour-Trane graciously sponsored lunch for attendees.
By Jack Plumb
On Thursday, November 6, 15 respectable looking gentlemen and 2 sophisticated ladies walked through Schiphol Airport and made their way to Amsterdam city centre. A group looking for entertainment in the red-light district? Or perhaps on their way to try some of the “wacky-tobacky” coffee shops?
Well, none of these things. It was the IAMFA UK Chapter, in town at the invitation of Karen Keeman, Facilities Manager at the Rijksmuseum. We all enjoyed Karen’s presentation at the IAMFA Scotland 2014 conference back in September, and some of us were keen on visiting the museum for ourselves. In conversation with Karen we decided that, instead of visiting in ones and twos, the UK Chapter would visit as a group, and the date agreed was Friday, November 7.
Arriving on the Thursday gave us an opportunity to have a look around. Your author took some time to visit the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, (National Library of Netherlands). I was very grateful to my hosts Wim Oosenbrug, Theo Vermeulen and Christel Nieboer for showing me around and explaining the challenges they faced.
One of these challenges is that the Netherlands government has ruled that all public buildings in Holland must meet the latest fire standards, and must remove all traces of asbestos. Whilst the current Bibliotheek was only opened 1982, the building nevertheless has a number of passive fire-protection issues, while also containing significant amounts of asbestos. As if that weren’t enough, Christel mentioned that recent government legislation has made the management of local lending libraries a responsibility of the Koninklijke, so Christel now has to house an additional 100 staff. Wim, Theo and Christel certainly have a lot on their plates; I hope to keep in touch to see how they get on.
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Caption: The Koninklijke Bibliotheek.
After a normal quiet and relaxed evening with the UK gang, it was early to bed, ready for the next day at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. We gathered at the Estates offices next door to the Rijksmuseum for the morning’s presentations. Karen ran through the agenda for the day, then introduced Igor Santhagens, Project Manager for the Museum Interior.
Igor explained that the Rijksmuseum was first opened in 1885 and, as there was no electric lighting in those days, the museum was built with a great many windows and roof lights, allowing as much natural daylight could enter the building as possible.
After more than a century of intensive use, this huge building needed a radical makeover. In 2000, the government of the day gave the go-ahead. After a lengthy period of preparation, work finally started in 2004. The main building was handed over in 2012, and work began on preparing for the opening. Following its refit, this internationally renowned museum is now fully compliant with the requirements of our modern age.
Igor then took us through a couple of the most significant developments that took place during the refurbishment. First of all, he explained that Philips Lighting — one of the founding members of the Philipswing of the Rijksmuseum — realized that, whilst they were one of the market leaders in LED lighting technology, they had not ventured into the museum/gallery market. Working closely with Igor and his team at the museum, Philips thus set about designing LED lamps suitable for installation at the museum, while also meeting the exacting requirements of the Spanish architects, Cruz y Ortiz.
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Caption: The Rijksmuseum, showing the cycle path — the source of a problem or two.
The final test was to illuminate one of the most famous paintings in the Rijksmuseum — Rembrandt’s The Night Watch — until museum curators were satisfied that there was an improvement over the previous tungsten halogen standard for gallery lighting. In the end, some 3800 LED lamps, (3000K CRI 93) have been employed throughout the lighting installation.
Secondly, Igor explained how the external walls had been treated with a 25mm layer of Calcitherm board. Historical and heritage buildings require a far more holistic approach to insulating in order to avoid degradation and damage, necessitating a need to balance energy efficiency with breathability and damp protection whilst, most importantly, maintaining the characteristics of the building and preserving the internal façade.
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Caption: Lighting ring.
Calcitherm is made from calcium silicate, a micro-porous mineral building material with good insulating properties. Its high capillary action ensures humidity regulation, and the nature of the material means that mould cannot form on its surface. All the windows were provided with secondary glazing, not only to improve the insulation value, but more importantly to improve the air tightness of the building. As all museum/gallery facility managers know, it is far more important to improve the air tightness of a museum/gallery than it is to improve the insulation value.
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Caption: Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq (1642) by Rembrandt van Rijn, commonly referred to as The Night Watch.
After a coffee break, Karen introduced Nico Stoop, Head of the museum’s Technical Department. Nico took us through the development of the mechanical services that were totally renewed during the refurbishment. These were required to be totally invisible and silent — where have we heard that before?
At the Rijksmuseum, they achieved this remarkable feat by providing an underground service corridor right around the building. This service corridor not only provides access for both mechanical and electrical services, but also houses the air-handling units at regular intervals.
Nico went on to explain that the Dutch government had very serious carbon-reduction ambitions, so to meet these exacting standards ground-source heat pumps were employed. For the ground source, instead of installing pipework installations deep in the ground, the Rijksmuseum uses the vast underground water system that exists beneath the streets of Amsterdam — rejecting heat into this underground water system in the summer, and reusing that heat for heating during the winter. Whilst the museum does have a boiler and chiller plants, for most of the year these systems remain idle whilst the heat pumps do all the work.
Environmental control of the museum galleries is allowed to drift between 23ºC +/- 2ºC in the summer to 20ºC +/- 2ºC in the winter, with a maximum drift of 0.5ºC per month. For the RH: 54% +/- 5% in the summer to 50% +/- 5% in the winter, with a maximum drift of 1% per month. To manage this, a sophisticated and comprehensive BMS installation has been employed not only controlling environmental conditions within the museum, but also providing automatic lighting control to manage the lighting installation at different times of day.
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Caption: Team photo, including Karen Keeman and Nico Stoop.
Nico and Karen then took us on a back-of-house tour of the museum to see for ourselves the remarkable and very well thought-out plantrooms installed as part of the refurbishment. After lunch and the team photo, we split into two groups to have a look at the educational facilities included within the refurbishment, and also a conservation facility that really looked the part. We were very fortunate to meet Paul van Duin, a recognised authority on furniture restoration.
We then had the rest of the afternoon to have a really good look around the museum, to see for ourselves the attention to detail in the refurbishment, which just adds to the fantastic collection on display. For any IAMFA colleagues visiting Amsterdam, a trip to the Rijksmuseum is an absolute must, if only to observe a really good museum refurbishment.
Jack Plumb is Head of Estates at the National Library of Scotland.
List of Contributors
Lars Aasbjerg Jensen
Poul Klenz Larsen