Go back to article: A sustainable storage solution for the Science Museum Group

The need for a new kind of museum store

In 2010 an agreement to house the incipient Rail Industry National Archive as well as a need for environmentally controlled storage for paintings, ship models and horse-drawn carriages[1] prompted the decision to build a new store at Wroughton. The collections all required stable RH levels which could be allowed to drift moderately within the recommended set-points but the levels had to be provided by low energy consumption and reduced reliance on a mechanical and engineering system (Moore, 2013). The store would be constructed inside one of the renovated hangars (Hangar D2) which already held the archive store; planning permission would not be required and it was thought the hangar itself would provide an additional level of protection from the outside elements.

The design project team had members from various museum departments: Estates, Sustainable Development, Conservation & Collections Care and Curatorial (Archives). Input from Conservation and Sustainable Development led the project team to consider the use of a hygroscopic building material which would buffer RH fluctuations sufficiently to eliminate constant reliance on heating or dehumidification. Based on research from the University of Bath (Sutton et al, 2011) and results from newly constructed commercial warehouses (Bevan and Woolley, 2009; Betts, 2010), a bio-based construction concrete made from industrial hemp and lime binder was chosen, both for its buffering ability and its ecological credentials.

Component DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/150405/005