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What's an appropriate temperature for my collection?

What's an appropriate temperature for your collection? Seems like a simple question! We've been putting this question in front of collections professionals for the past few weeks. The main answer we've gotten is that, well, "it depends." No surprise.

If you don't read any further know that we've launched "Levels" in Conserv Cloud so that you, as a first step, can set and evaluate environmental levels for your collection.

Gratitude First

Our levels feature is much better off thanks to generous feedback from Jordan Cao, Sarah Kortemeier, Stephanie Gilmore, Rachael Arenstein, Nancie Ravenel, & Eliza Lenz.

If you're interested in helping us design the next generation of conservation tools, you can get started here ( or drop us an email.

Let's dive into what we learned and what we ended up building. If you want to jump directly into Conserv Cloud and see what's going on, go here (

Bye Bye Standards, Hello Levels

We started off with the idea that we could help collections set standards that worked for them. Womp, womp. Most collections don't concern themselves with setting a standard. 

Sure in the past we might have talked about standards, now we talk about recommendations and collections that use those recommendations to set appropriate levels. So we changed the way we talk about it.

Additionally, letting go of standards has a certain relaxing effect. We shift from a mindset of perfection (living up to a standard) to a mindset of improvement (setting an appropriate level).

A Focus on Agents of Deterioration

We want to help collections measure and minimize the effects of agents of deterioration, to help take better care of the collection. The community feedback was to focus on three areas.

  • Temperature
  • Relative Humidity
  • Light

Plus dew point, which we snuck in at the last minute. For each of these areas, you can set expectations for minimums, maximums, targets, and variation over 24 hours - where relevant. This list will grow and evolve based on what we hear from the collections community.



A Step Toward Recommendations

Figuring out what environmental level is appropriate for your collection is a hard problem. What all goes into it? It's a long list ...

Geography, building envelope, collection objects, HVAC capability, type of space, energy efficiency goals, seasons of the year, staff abilities, funding, monitoring equipment, and on, and on.

There's no replacement for a smart, experienced human to learn about your circumstances and make recommendations. Over time we can evolve our software to use these data points to make recommendations, but that's for the future, maybe the far future.

More Flexibility on Our Charts

In nearly every environmental monitoring tool on the market, the line graph is where most of your analysis happens. We've made some simple additions to this experience.

  • a green shaded area to indicate the range of your levels, along with a line for your target
  • toggle switches to turn on/off the following - levels, alerts, and annotations

That's right, remember that you can set alerts for your real-time data and annotate any data to capture important information.

Tools to Manage Data Loggers

While we want everyone to have Conserv wireless sensors, we recognize that many people will use a mix of wireless sensors and offline data loggers - so create a few levels to help manage your fleet of data loggers.

  • how often should you upload data from a logger? (reminder emails are on the way!)
  • have your loggers gone past their re-calibration period?
  • how long before you think the batteries need to be checked?

We're moving fast

We're committed to releasing new major features every week for the foreseeable future, because there's a ton of great work to do, and because we have goal of being the obvious environmental monitoring platform for your collection.

Answer a few questions to get started

Austin Senseman
Austin Senseman
Austin is the founder and CEO at Conserv.

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