chapter  3
12 Pages

Light-induced damage to objects

The control of degradation of museum objects due to light exposure fits within the broad field of risk assessment, and seen in this context, it is in competition for limited attention and funds. Risk assessment for museums has been reviewed by Jonathon AshleySmith, who found that ‘Damage by light is easy to control’ (1999, p. 226). While that might seem a reasonable assessment for a curator who is concerned to protect a collection from earthquakes, tsunami, atmospheric pollution and terrorist threats, the processes of light-induced degradation are far from simple, and if one accepts that a process to be controlled should first be understood, then we are faced with a complex situation.