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AIC Stony Brook Carriage Storage Sheds Paper (Stony3C.Txt)

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PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR CARRIAGE STORAGE: THE STONY BROOK CARRIAGE SHED PROJECT …

PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR CARRIAGE STORAGE: THE STONY BROOK CARRIAGE SHED PROJECT

Paper complied from three papers presented at the AIC Annual Meeting Wood
Artifacts Group on 11 June 2000 with Jonathan Taggart & Merri Ferrell

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  • 1. Paper complied from three papers presented at the AIC Annual Meeting Wood Artifacts Group on 11 June 2000 with Jonathan Taggart & Merri Ferrell =============================================================================== PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR CARRIAGE STORAGE: THE STONY BROOK CARRIAGE SHED PROJECT ABSTRACT. A unique system of temperature and relative humidity modification using outside air and ventilation was designed along with other modifications to the carriage storage structures. The goal was to substantially improve the storage conditions within the limitations of keeping annual operating costs at a minimum, using existing structures and the environmental conditions of the specific region. This paper discusses the collection, its storage conditions, and the reasoning behind this approach to storage improvement, followed by the methodology, equipment, and degree of improvement. Authors: Ms. Merri Ferrell, Curator of Carriages, The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages, 1208 Route 25A, Stony Brook, NY 11790; (516) 751-0066 x222. Mr. Jonathan Taggart, Taggart Objects Conservation, 1573 Grand Avenue, Astoria, OR 97103; (503) 325-7279. Mr. William Lull, President, Garrison/Lull Inc., PO Box 459, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550; (609) 259-8050. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND The Long Island Museum (formerly known as The Museums at Stony Brook) has a carriage collection that is the largest and most comprehensive in America. The majority of the carriages are in original condition. The museum is committed to the preservation of its collections and to that end have employed conservators and preservation specialists to study and advise on the storage conditions and their consequent impact on the collection and to create a master plan towards improving those conditions to benefit the long term preservation of the collection. The museum's carriage collection is recognized internationally as the finest and most comprehensive assemblage of horse drawn transportation artifacts and related research material held by a public institution, and it is the most highly regarded collection of its type in America. The collection is comprised of 250 horse-drawn vehicles, the majority of which are in original, presentation-quality condition. Because carriages are complex, composite objects, the preservation of original materials truthfully represents the intended appearance and fabrication details of individual vehicles and also illustrates the degree of artistry and skill employed in their manufacture. The museum's commitment to the preservation of carriages in their original historic state means that this collection is the primary resource for the study and interpretation of transportation and related industrial history in America. From its inception in 1949, the Carriage Collection was formed and shaped on
  • 2. the basis of quality, diversity, rarity and historical significance. Preserving original finishes and materials has been a consistent objective; the artifacts function as complex documents for the study of how they were made. This interpretive significance of preserving original materials is especially critical with vehicles made after 1850, when the industry was often divided into specialized "sub-industries." Thus, small details such as coach lace and other textiles, lamps, hardware etc. can be traced to a complex system of manufacturers that supported the larger carriage industry and that responded to the evolving consumer market and desire for customization in the context of mass production. Thus the history of individual pieces can be pursued based on artifactual evidence. For example: the crest on the Museum's summer vis-a-vis revealed not only the family who owned it The Carroll family of Maryland) but also the artist who painted the crest (Herman Durholz). The provenance of individual items in the collection contributes to the uniqueness of this material culture resource. Specific artifacts of note include an 18th century phaeton that belonged to Revolutionary War hero General Peter Gansevoort and was later the property of genre painter Edward Lamson Henry, who included the phaeton in several of his paintings. This phaeton is one of over a dozen pre-industrial horse- drawn carriages in original condition in the collection; this is the largest holding of vehicles from this period in the United States. These vehicles are the only existing documents of their type and specific fabrication detail. The research value of this portion of the carriage collection has warranted numerous visits from the staffs of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and from Old Sturbridge Village. Following a visit to the carriage collection in 1983, John Heard, Head of the George Foundation in Houston, TX, wrote to curator Merri Ferrell, "Your collection is really a superb one and contains a larger number of quality early vehicles than I am aware of in this country." Another example of specific artifactual richness in the collection is the omnibus "Grace Darling" which forms the focal point for an exhibit about conservation. Twenty-three feet in length, this public conveyance is elaborately decorated with figurative, landscape and ornamental painting. This vehicle constitutes a landmark in carriage conservation since it was one of the first vehicles to be conserved using fine arts procedures. Once the painted surfaces were cleaned, the previously obscured artistry of the paintings were revealed. Subsequent research determined the artist to be the ornamental painter, John Burgum, who was also chief decorator for the Abbot-Downing Company in Concord, New Hampshire. Burgum's entries in his 1880 diary describes painting scenes, scroll work and other images on the omnibus. This vehicle has proved to be the catalyst for an extensive study on the artistry of carriage painting which posits horse-drawn vehicles in the larger context of material culture and painted wooden artifacts. The collection also includes over 10,000 non-vehicular artifacts, such as carriage-making tools, harness, stable fixtures and vehicle accoutrements, which amplify the collection and illustrate the diversity of objects and activities which relate to horse-drawn transportation history. The objective to collect items that related to the Museum vehicles to posit them in a more comprehensive context was recorded by donor Ward Melville in a 1962 letter to Walker Penfield (son of artist Edward Penfield): In our Carriage House...we are trying very hard to acquire not only vehicles, of which we have what is possibly the greatest collection anywhere, but also anything relating to vehicles, this including first, of course, such things as harness, stable fittings, liveries, etc. but
  • 3. going on from that to include paintings, drawings, prints and a great number of the old illustrated catalogues that were issued by carriage and harness manufacturers. In summary, the museum's carriage collection is a unique and significant humanities resource because of its scope, comprehensiveness (diversity of vehicle types as well as auxiliary material) and quality. Unlike other transportation collections that include automobiles, bicycles and rail transportation artifacts, the collection is highly defined and from its inception in the late 1940s has embraced the specific criterion of representing the best of each type. The objective of obtaining, exhibiting and preserving vehicles in original condition is also divergent from the collection policies of other institutions or private collectors holding similar collections. The majority of carriage collectors in the United States restore vehicles through the use of modern materials and methods typically antithetical to the original presentation of the piece, thus impairing the interpretive potential of the vehicle. The museum's preservation and conservation program is devoted rigorously to preserving original materials and represents a radical departure from restoration. Respect for the historical integrity of the items in the carriage collection has contributed to the recognition of this collection as a national treasure that preserves and interprets the social, economic and aesthetic history of horse-drawn vehicles. The significance of the contents of the carriage collection is supported by its research value; each year hundreds of inquiries from the United States, Canada and Europe concerning the identification or origin of carriage types, carriage manufacturing history and other related subjects are fielded by the carriage curator. Independent scholars, collectors and museum professionals rely on the carriage collection and library as the preeminent national research resource in this field. THE CARRIAGE STORAGE FACILITIES As stated, the formation of the collection was initiated in 1949. Because few institutions were collecting these types of artifacts, the collection grew to hundres of vchiels over the next few years. In 1953, a building was constructed on museum grounds to display the collection, but the majority were dispersed to off-site storage. Storage for two-thirds of the collection (170 vehicles) and most of the 10,000 non-vehicular artifacts consists of three separate, enclosed, two-story, wood-construction buildings that provide 11,300 square feet of storage space. These storage facilities were formerly the lumber sheds of the D.T. Bayles lumberyard constructed in 1846 and modified extensively over the next one hundred years. In 1976, the lumber sheds were converted for permanent, on-site storage for the carriage collection. In each of the storage buildings, the columns supporting the cantilever roof were removed, a second floor built and a facade added to enclose the buildings. Providing an enclosed storage facility for the carriages seemed adequate by the standards for such collections twenty years ago. Barn-like structures, such as the Horseshoe Barn at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, and similar facilities, were typical storage buildings for carriages in museums and historical societies throughout the United States. However, advances in conservation standards and practices, and the inclusion of industrial
  • 4. and transportation artifacts in the larger category of material culture worthy of preservation and interpretation, called for the need to improve storage standards. The need for storage improvements to create an optimum conservation environment was critical. The vehicles and non-vehicular collections in storage are not lesser examples from the collection. As a matter of fact, the majority of vehicles currently on exhibition in the Carriage Museum (which opened to the public in 1987, replacing the 1953 structure), including the Grace Darling omnibus, were formerly in storage. Because of the international reputation of the museum's Carriage Collection, requests to see and study specific collection items are frequent. These items may be in storage due to programmatic or exhibition changes. Also, special groups such as driving clubs and connoisseurs request "behind the scenes" tours so that than see all of the collection. This activity is not only educational, but also an important form of outreach and education. The study storage function of the carriage sheds would be enhanced by providing a safe, preservation environment for the collection. PROBLEMS IN THE SHEDS The 170 vehicles in storage were vulnerable to the ongoing deterioration of the storage sheds. The small, inadequate ceiling fans ceased to work, thus compounding the heat on the second level of storage during the summer months. The back wall of one of the largest structures abutted wetlands and was supported by concrete planks. Water wicked up the board and batten structure and rotted, making the entire back wall hospitable to carpenter ants. In the 1980's the environmental conditions in the storage sheds were monitored with hygrothermographs and periodically with sling psychrometers. This monitoring determined that, throughout the year, humidity levels did not descend below 45% RH for more than an hour or two at a time, with humidity generally above 50% RH. However, extremes in temperature and high relative humidity in the summer months caused varnish to crawl on patent leather parts such as dashes and fenders, and on painted varnished surfaces such as the body and undercarriage. Additionally, these conditions, when combined with still air and particulates, accelerated mold growth, causing further deterioration. The relative openness of the buildings permitted mice, cloths moths and other pests easy access with subsequent damage, particularly to textiles. The wood interior finishes and proximity to a major traffic intersection contributed to high levels of contamination from sloughing of the shed finishes and soot from truck and automobile exhausts. The sheds themselves were structurally unstable - the largest was over seventeen inches off center at the before the renovations began. Fire protection and lighting systems were inadequate, and moving of vehicles between floors was problematic. Collections and staff were at risk from the use of electric winches to hoist carriages from floor to floor. In 1985, the inadequate exhaust fans located in the ceiling were disengaged due to the wear on the motors, resulting in stale air and an alarming increase of mold on the collection. High humidity was combined with hygroscopic particulates - according to a discussion with Valerie Reich-Hunt, Conservator, Shelburne Museum, this combination can precipitate mold growth. Mold had become a devastating environmental threat to the structural integrity of collection items in storage, and disfigured the surface
  • 5. coatings (paint and resin varnishes), textiles and leather. Although composite objects, the principal material of carriages is wood, and the combination of high levels of humidity (often well over 75%) and mold have broken down the cellulosic structure of many of the wood components. The original extreme environmental conditions made the wood hospitable to wood-boring insects, also contributing to dimensional change in the panels, resulting in paint loss and buckling. The extreme fluctuations in temperature - typically above 95 degF during summer months on the second level of storage and below 32 degF during the winter months - expanded and contracted the metal components (axles, spring's, hub bands, etc.) causing extensive cleavage, flaking and loss of paint. The interiors of the sheds were rough dark wood and absorbed light. Cleaning collection items was difficult due to limited visibility. Numerous high wattage incandescent lights, causing spot heating, were required for general illumination. Additionally, the sheds are wooden structures with no fire retardant materials nor a fire protection system. The rational for improved conditions evolved following direct observation of the collection deterioration compared to environmental factors and charts from recording hygrothermographs. These charts indicated that relative humidity did not descend below 48% year round, whereas the relative humidity often soared beyond 90%. High levels of humidity, combined with high temperature during the summer and particulates precipitated mold growth on the surfaces that disfigured varnish, melted the patent finish of dashes and fenders and embedded particulates into coatings. These observations were confirmed by specialists and their reports: Linda Merk-Gould (1989), Jonathan Taggart (1990), Brian Howard (1991), Jonathan Taggart (1992) and William P. Lull (1992), Dr. Thomas Parker (Integrated Pest Management Report, 1991) and Jay Chambers (Security and Fire Report, 1991). The museum sought to rectify these problems by renovating the storage facilities to correct those conditions that adversely affect the collection and pursued funding assistance to renovate storage facilities. In 1993, The Museum received $495,000. from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create an improved conservation environment in the carriage storage facilities. Due to restrictions of the grant, expanding or rebuilding structures were prohibited. A PLAN FOR IMPROVED SHED CONDITIONS Under the grant, consultant William Lull worked with Merri Ferrell, curator of the carriage collection and project director, to establish plans to improve the environment with respect to establishing storage conditions that would ensure the long-term preservation of the collection. Objects conservator Jonathan Taggart provided an overview the condition of the collection, identifying specific types of damage, causes of deterioration and solutions to arrest deterioration. During the intial meetins with consultants it was emphasized that carriage represent unique challenges as artifacts. As composite objects, with bodies of wide, thin and often steam-bent wood, carriages are especially vulnerable to humidities below 45% RH, or abrupt changes in humidity. The new Carriage Museum, opened in 1987, provided a
  • 6. conditioned environment for the carriage collection, but its performance was inconsistent, resulting in damage (1). This experience showed that maintaining humidity above 45% RH requires special precautions and effort, including precautions against lows or abrupt changes in relative humidity caused by boiler failure. Storage in near-ambient conditions in a shed is a more efficient and reliable way of providing environmental control than a fully-conditioned space, avoiding heating and humidification. Moreover, the financial costs of operating and maintaining a conventional HVAC system, let alone one on par with the Carriage Museum, was considered to be beyond the ability of this museum to afford. Any system which was installed had to be far less expensive to run. This ruled out conventional heating with humidification, and even humidity-controlled heating, let alone cooling and dehumidification. If the sheds could be isolated from the ambient environment, with better interior finishes and lighting, and treated with recirculated and outside air as appropriate, a major improvement could be made without conventional heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC). To mitigate conditions within these limitations, it was determined that the humidity needed to be modified, especially levels exceeding 65%. High temperatures needed to be lowered, and the building sealed to prevent pest infestation. The rationale behind the environmental improvements, lead by Jonathan Taggart, was based on a realistic approach to solving the collection-threatening problems within the project constraints. The prescribed ideal temperature of between 65o and 70oF, and relative humidity of 50¤ 3%, in this case constitute an unreasonable standard. The considerations that must be recognized are the limitations of the existing storage structures, as well as those of even state-of-the-art climate control systems, and the anticipated financial burden of operating such an HVAC system. A cue to the validity of minimal approaches was taken from the article "A Practical Approach to Environmental Requirements for Collections in Historic Buildings" (Journal for the American Institute of Conservation, 31(1992); 65-75), by Richard Kirschner (Chief Conservator, Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT). In his introduction, Kirschner notes that, "To date, few alternatives to complete climate control have been designed and tested. Therefore, small and mid-sized ... museums often take anall or nothing' approach to climate control; all too often, it isnothing.'" He addresses partial climate control "focused on a variety of actions that can be taken to improve environmental conditions within historic buildings and thereby significantly aid in the long-term preservation of .... artifacts housed in these buildings." Kirschner stresses the importance of solutions that are based on needs and the ability to develop realistic solutions. "Theall or nothing' approach to climate control must be replaced by a willingness to strive for improvement of existing environmental conditions. Using practical climate control measures, even small museums and historical societies can improve environmental conditions with modest financial commitments." (Kirschner p. 69.) Four of Kirschner's five suggestions for reducing problems at their source are applicable to the sheds at Stony Brook. These are: 1) eliminate moisture entering collections by repairing roofs and installing vapor barriers; 2) trimming bushes back from buildings; 3) reducing particulates entering collection areas, and 4) venting attic spaces to eliminate heat buildup in summer.
  • 7. PROBLEMS. The following were the identified problems in the renovation plan for the sheds. 1. HIGH HUMIDITY. Some parts of the carriages are damaged by the high humidity conditions. This includes damage from mold and other mechanisms identified in detail by the conservators. It should be noted that the high humidity problem has more to do with extremes of humidity combined with low air circulation rather than humidity simply being above the "ideal" of 50% RH. Due to the design, manufacture and historical storage of the carriages with the intent that they be kept in unconditioned spaces the emphasis should be on providing an unconditioned space that avoids extremes in high humidity. 2. HIGH TEMPERATURE IN SUMMER. Solar gain on the sheds can lead to heating of the interior, which leads to high temperatures problematic to the collection. As noted for humidity above, the emphasis should be on avoiding extremes in temperature with outside air ventilation, not necessarily to reach an arbitrary temperature which might require mechanical cooling. 3. PARTICULATE CONTAMINATION. The carriages are subject to particulate contamination. The most problematic is the black soot which comes from the outside traffic nearby. 4. CONTAMINATION FROM SHED MATERIALS. Some of the shed materials, in particular some of the exposed roof sheathing boards coated with tar, can drop material on the carriages. 5. DETERIORATION OF SHEDS. The Brewster shed had inadequate foundation support on one side. Some floor structures had rotted due to their proximity to ground conditions. Each shed had some of the exterior wood boards and battens rotted. The roofs in some shed areas had been leaking. These problems were detailed in the 25 October 1991 engineering report by Hawkins Webb Jaeger. 6. RISK FROM FIRE. The carriages and sheds are almost entirely made of wood and any sort of fire might quickly consume the sheds. Although the curator of carriages has established special arrangements with the local fire company for dealing with collections at the Museum, the collection and sheds would likely be lost before any manual fire fighting effort could be mounted. 7. VERTICAL HANDLING WEAR AND RISK. The hoist system, which required a carriage to be lashed to an overhead hoist bar, placed unnecessary wear and tear on the collection and risks damage to the collection if a carriage is inadequately secured. 8. PEST INFESTATIONS. The reports by the conservators and Mr. Thomas Parker, pest control consultant, cited problems with pests. These problems are facilitated by the easy ingress of pests through unsealed shed gaps. 9. LIGHTING. The original lighting was very inefficient, using tungsten lamps in a dark space. This required the use of portable supplemental lighting to work on the carriages, with associated additional
  • 8. consequential risk to the collections. 10. VIEWING/ACCESS CONDITIONS. The efficacy of the study/storage program was limited due to some unfortunate space heights in some areas, preventing standing access, and the lack of adequate lighting and visual background for viewing the carriages. The carriages got lost in a figure-ground relationship with the bare wood walls. In the sluggish economy of 1992, and increased financial pressures on museums, the proposed improvements were designed to eliminate the most damaging environmental conditions while incurring minimal additional annual maintenance and operation costs. The most revolutionary design aspect of this project was the ventilation system. Working from conceptual ideas, Lull outlined an approach for an innovative air handling system. The idea was to monitor both interior and exterior temperature and relative humidity. When these measurements indicate that exterior conditions were more favorable to collections than those in the interior, outside air would be used to improve the interior environment. When the interior conditions were more favorable, the air would recirculate, providing air movement to prevent still air conditions which can be favor mold growth. A feature which benefitted the implementation of this design was the existing long two-floor configuration of the sheds. The whole building can then be visualized as two giant ducts, with air moving in opposite directions on both floors. Two air handling units, one on each level at opposite ends, both push and pull air creating a giant single internal ventilation loop. Each air handling unit contain mechanically controllable vents to the outside which can intake or exhaust air as needed. Dampers and fans are controlled by a computerized control system based on sequences identified by Lull. Ideally, these systems use the natural daily changes in temperature and relative humidity to provide a better storage environments than in uncontrolled buildings. This was accomplished by the use of fans, without the use of costly heating, cooling, humidification and dehumidification equipment. This "humidistatically controlled" ventilation approach was more appropriate and economical than simple expanded temperature/humidity tolerances or installing standard HVAC equipment with the standard set points of 50% RH and 70 degrees F. Reflecting this planning work, Lull provided a comprehensive program report for the intended improvements. This was used during design, construction and occupancy to compare the work of the architects, engineers and contractors with the program goals. THE RENOVATION DESIGN As per the museum's request, the architectural design firm first submitted as-built drawings of the storage buildings and a survey of the site. During 1994, plans for the structural renovation of the sheds and the ventilation and particulate control system were revised several times and submitted to key consultants and project manager for coordination with project goals. The proximity of Brewster Storage to the wetlands presented a challenge to the design. A survey of the wetlands was conducted to determine the preparations required to perform construction on this site. Testing in this
  • 9. area were submitted to the DEC for review to obtain the necessary permits for work to begin. The foundation of the back of this structure, severely compromised by its location, was comprised of concrete blocks and parking bumpers stacked up on the unstable mud of the wetlands. The concrete supports extended beyond the building, creating a shelf from which water wicked into the board and batten exterior. The rot caused by this condition made the building hospitable to an infestation of carpenter ants. Dr. Thomas Parker, entomologist, was hired to devise a solution to eliminate this infestation without using toxic chemicals. This building demonstrated significant torque to its structure, a condition that was somewhat stabilized by installing support columns to the cantilevered roof. The rear foundation needed to be rebuilt on and repositioned on stable footings. Behrens Leiter Associates assisted in design of conservation lighting and selection of appropriate fixtures. Their design sought the best way to provide maximum illumination for the sheds without overloading the existing electrical system or creating lighting conditions that might damage the collection. Crystallization Systems, Inc., conservation storage furniture suppliers & space designers were selected to supply storage cabinets and other fixtures for carriage collection, non-vehicular artifacts. The installation of environmental control systems to reduce high levels of humidity was one of the most significant aspects of this project. The design goals and concepts were established by Lull and submitted to E.W. Hoffmann for design-build construction. THE NEW AIR CIRCULATION/VENTILATION SYSTEM The new systems for Brewster and Studebaker consist primarily of a new fan system at the end of each shed. These blow air into the length of these two-level storage sheds. The system at one end blows air at the upper level and draws air at the lower level, with the system at the other end blowing air at the lower level and drawing air at the upper level. In this way extensive supply ducts could be eliminated while providing good air flow throughout each shed. Elimination of the supply duct provided more storage space and reduced project costs. To promote cooling through ventilation while reducing mold growth the systems have the ability to draw in outside air; or, to recirculate air drawn from within the shed. The new systems only have the capability of moving filtered air with the fans and using outside air; there is no heating, cooling, humidification or dehumidification. To reduce mold growth, reduce heat gain and promote moisture removal the following logic was implemented. a. HIGH INTERNAL HUMIDITY. Fans operate continuously whenever humidity is above 60% RH. b. HIGH INTERNAL HUMIDITY/LOWER OUTSIDE HUMIDITY. Fans operate and outside air damper is opened when outside humidity is at least 10% RH dryer* than in the sheds and the shed humidity is above 60%. (*When corrected to inside temperature conditions.) c. HIGH INTERNAL TEMPERATURE/LOWER OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE. Fans operate and outside air damper is opened so long as internal temperature is above 68 degF and outside air is cooler. d. HIGH EXTERIOR HUMIDITY/LOWER INTERIOR HUMIDITY. Override other control
  • 10. sequences and close outside air damper when the outside humidity is 10% RH greater than the inside humidity. This prevents sequence (c.) from drawing in too-moist outside air. e. EXHAUST FANS. Whenever the outside air damper is opened exhaust fans operate; otherwise, exhaust fans are not operating and exhaust fan or relief dampers are closed. Air is circulated when the humidity is above the high humidity set point of 60% RH. This was expected to suppress mold growth. Monitoring data also suggests that the fans tend to reduce the relative humidity by increasing temperature, due to the heat gain from the fans. When outside air is favorable, the systems switch to an "outside air" mode. This opens outside air intake louvers at each fan system, causing air to be drawn from outside rather than the adjacent shed level. To relieve the outside air and to preserve the end-to-end air flow, exhaust fans open at the opposite ends to remove air from the sheds. This is done only when the outside air is cooler than the sheds, or when the outside air moisture content is less than that in the sheds and the sheds are above the humidity set point. To assure proper air flow the outside air and exhaust dampers are low- leakage type. To prevent the system from introducing particulate contamination from the outside air, each supply fan has a prefilter and 12- inch 90% efficiency final particulate filter. Gas-phase filters were considered but the cost of replacement media was estimated as too great given the volume of air that might be filtered. ARCHITECTURE/STRUCTURE RENOVATIONS Several improvements were made to the shed structure, envelope and finishes. FINISHES. The sheds were renovated to have new interior finishes. This allowed the installation of modest insulation and vapor barrier, as well as the creation of a ventilation cavity in the walls to carry off some of the solar loads. A radiant barrier was installed in the walls to further reduce the heating effect of solar gain on the walls. The new drywall finish improved the fire resistance of the construction, and provides a white surface to improve the efficacy of the new lighting and make carriage inspection easier. To preserve the maximum space for the collections the new drywall ceilings fit against the roof rafters and not the lower cords of the trusses. This means that the roof trusses are largely be exposed, allowing storage of harness poles on the truss cords. The floors were also painted to make inspection for pests easier. The new finishes were also sealed at edge conditions to suppress pest activity. STRUCTURE/FOUNDATION. The structure of the sheds was corrected, particularly Brewster, which was adjacent to a wetlands area. A moisture barrier and gravel drainage bed were located under Brewster; screening was added at the perimeter of the crawl space to reduce pest entry. ROOF. Each shed received a new shingle roof, selected for a light color to reduce solar heat gain. New ridge vents allow reduction in solar gains to the upper shed levels. LEVEL ADJUSTMENT. Part of the second level of Studebaker was at an awkward height, dictated by storage needs that are no longer required with the construction of the new Carriage Museum. Since these platforms were
  • 11. retrofitted into the sheds these were easily repositioned to provide more effective use for study/storage. NEW LIFTS. The hoists in the two sheds were replaced with platform elevators to allow carriages to be moved to the second levels with far less risk of damage to the carriages. LIGHTING The old exposed A-lamp fixtures were replaced with wrap-around lens fluorescent lamps. These greatly improved the quality of the light for inspection with only a modest increase in actual light level and energy use. The lighting renovation included special layout and control. A minimum lighting circuit allows access through storage without turning on all the lights; this prevents unnecessary light exposure to the collection. Switches for the minimum lighting circuit are located at each door and at the top of the stairs. Switches for all the lights are located at the main door and at the top of the stairs. FIRE PROTECTION Dry-pipe sprinklers were added to the renovated sheds, as well as to Abbott- Downing. These have fused-link heads. The sheds are also equipped with new smoke detectors. Code required conventional detectors, which were provided; however, the fire protection designer judged that the cold conditions in the sheds might make these unreliable. To backup the conventional detectors, beam detectors were added to the top ridge of each shed. MONITORING Funding did not allow installation of a monitoring system as part of the HVAC computer control system as originally intended. Instead, two ACR data logger were installed at a fraction of the cost. One monitors the temperature and humidity in Brewster Shed, and the status (on/off) of the HVAC system (fan and outside air). The other monitors temperature and humidity in the untreated Abbott-Downing Shed, and outside air temperature and humidity through an exterior probe. Data from these are downloaded with a laptop computer. SUCCESSES OF THE PROJECT The project achieved all of the significant goals. The hydraulic lifts permit ease in moving the collection as well as an important improvement in safe handling of the artifacts. The interior finishes of the buildings and the filtered air have reduced particulate contamination successfully, resulting in near "clean room" conditions. This will benefit the long-term preservation of collection, protecting it from the abrasive, corrosive and hygroscopic intrusion of dirt, dust and gaseous pollutants. It will also reduce the level of maintenance required to keep the vehicles and other artifacts clean. The overall reduction in average temperature and humidity levels will reduce mold growth that previously caused disfigured surfaces and coatings. The carriage collection has an international reputation, and this leads to
  • 12. the interest of researchers and collectors in visiting the museum to see specific carriages. With only 30% of them on display in the carriage museum building, the catalogued carriage the researcher wants to see is often in the sheds. There are also carriage museum visitors who want to see more of the collection than is on display. With the current arrangement of the collection in the sheds, the curator of carriages can take researchers and visitors on arranged tours of the entire collection. The quality of the visitor experience in the sheds has been greatly improved with interior lighting and wall finish improvements to the sheds. Of equal importance is the fact that good storage conditions for such a large collection assure survival of specific types. Due to cultural misunderstanding or prejudice, few individuals or institutions are committed to preserving utilitarian objects in original conditions. The majority of carriage collectors drive their vehicles and restore them using modern matierals. However, they look to the Museum's collection for guidelines for presentation and details that may have been destroyed. Much of that information has been lost due to aggressive restoration or general deterioration. Thus the Museum's carriage collection will serve as specimens of this expression of material culture for years to come. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. Improvement of the storage environment for the carriage collection was supported with significant funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access and Mrs. James Hancock Blackwell. Footnote: (1) Lull, et. al., HUMIDITY AND THE NEW CARRIAGE MUSEUM AT THE MUSEUMS AT STONY BROOK, AIC Wood Artifacts Update Session, 1991.