Analysis of the Interior Microclimate in Art Nouveau Heritage Buildings for the Protection of Exhibits and Human Health

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Dec 10;19(24):16599. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192416599.


Poor air quality inside museums can have a double effect; on the one hand, influencing the integrity of the exhibits and on the other hand, endangering the health of employees and visitors. Both components can be very sensitive to the influence of the internal microclimate, therefore careful monitoring of the physical parameters and pollutants is required in order to maintain them within strict limits and thus to reduce the hazards that can be induced. The current study considers the determination and analysis of 15 indicators of the internal microclimate in an Art Nouveau museum built at the beginning of the 20th century in the Municipality of Oradea, Romania. The monitoring spanned a period of seven months, between September 2021 and March 2022, targeting three rooms of the museum with different characteristics and containing exhibits with a high degree of fragility. The results show that, although there are numerous indicators that have exceeded the thresholds induced by international standards, the possible negative impact on the exhibits and/or on human health remains moderate. This is due to the fact that, most of the time, exceeding the permitted limits are small or only sporadic, the values quickly returning to the permitted limits. Thus, only 22 of the 212 days of monitoring recorded marginal conditions regarding the quality of the indoor air, the rest having acceptable and good conditions. To improve the indoor conditions, a more careful management is needed, especially regarding the values of temperature, humidity, particulate matters, natural and artificial light, volatile organic compounds (VOC) and formaldehyde (HCHO), which during the measurements recorded high values that fluctuated in a wide spectrum. The obtained results can represent the basis for the development and implementation of long-term strategies for stabilizing the microclimatic conditions in the museum in order to preserve the exhibits preventively and to ensure a clean and safe environment for people.

Keywords: cultural heritage; human health; indoor air quality; museum microclimate; pollutants; preventive conservation; risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor* / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Microclimate
  • Particulate Matter / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter

Grants and funding

We acknowledge a partial funding contribution from the University of Oradea Grants, Competition “Scientific Research of Excellence Related to Priority Areas with Capitalization through Technology Transfer: INO–TRANSFER–UO- Second edition”, Projects No. 232/28.10.2022. Title of the project—Reuse of textile waste in interior decorations.