Safeguarding museum objects from shock and vibration during transit

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


There is significant uncertainty about the damage that vibration and shock causes to museum objects and works of art in museum and gallery collections. A particular cause of concern is exposure to damage during transit when artefacts are relocated, or loaned to other institutions, typically overseas. This collaborative project with the British Museum aims to quantify typical vibration and shock levels and, by replicating this environment in the laboratory, study the effects on the structural integrity of 3D artefacts featuring common material types and fabrication processes. Imaging techniques will be deployed to assess deterioration periodically. The applicability of vibration isolation technologies such as nonlinear passive or active control will be explored. The anticipated outputs of the project are two-fold. First, to develop an empirical tool that can scientifically inform the decision making process regarding the loan and transportation of museum objects, and second to make recommendations regarding state-of-the-art vibration mitigation measures.


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