Journal: Heritage — Open Access Journal of Knowledge, Conservation and Management of Cultural and Natural Heritage, vol. 6, 3089–3112, 2023
HERIe was used to model the effect of changes to indoor climate on the risk of humidity-induced mechanical damage (cracking and plastic deformation) to wooden panels painted with stiff gesso in two Norwegian medieval stone churches: Kinn (mean relative humidity (RH, %) = 79%) on the humid west coast, and Ringsaker (mean RH = 49%) in the drier eastern part of the country. The risk involved in moving cultural heritage objects (paint on wood) between the churches and a conservation studio with more “ideal”, stable conditions was also modeled. A hypothetical reduction in RH to ~65% and, proportionally, of the climate fluctuations in Kinn, and an increase in the RH in Ringsaker to a more stable value of ~63% via conservation heating, were found to improve (Kinn) and uphold (Ringsaker) the conformity to relevant standards and significantly reduce the risk of damage, except in the scenario of moving objects from Ringsaker to a conservation studio, when the risk would increase. The use of conservation heating could save ~50% of the heating cost. The estimated risk reductions may be less relevant for objects kept in situ, where cracks in the original paint and gesso have developed historically. They may be more relevant when moving original objects away from their proofed climate into a conservation studio for treatment.