Modern museum showcases are subject to many requirements. In addition to a high air-tightness, they have to demonstrate sterility by the absence of foreign substances and pollutants. Any emission of substances can lead to an enrichment of the internal atmosphere and thus, in the worst case, damage to the exhibits.
Since there are no emission-free sealing materials, BAM has developed a procedure for evaluating emissions from materials for museum equipment (BEMMA). The process helps to assess the emission behaviour of materials used for showcases. Using this information, low-emission showcases can be produced for various exhibits. BAM has thus created the prerequisite for the preservation of important cultural assets.
Experts presented papers at the 9th N.i.Ke. Workshop on 7 – 8 September and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of and possible extensions to the BEMMA procedure. Practical examples and experiences from different museums, laboratories and showcase manufacturers were also presented.
The participating working groups discussed the significance of quality labels for showcases and the BEMMA scheme’s further development under the topic of “low-pollutant” showcases. Their deliberations make an important contribution to preventive conservation. BAM was represented by Prof. Dr. Oliver Hahn, Head of the Analysis of Artefacts and Cultural Assets Division, Dr. Wolfgang Horn from the Materials and Air Pollutants Division and Dr. Richard Schmidt from the Quality in Testing Section and head of the BAM Certification Body.
In 2006, at the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), BAM called for a network for the interdisciplinary preservation of cultural assets in Germany (N.i.Ke.). The aim is to promote exchange between the natural sciences and the humanities. The network sees itself as a communication and cooperation platform for the disciplines of archaeology and art history, restoration and conservation and the natural and engineering sciences. It also offers information for decision-makers from politics, culture and industry, public and private owners.