Project facts

Duration: 2019-03-01 - 2022-02-28
Project coordinator: Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV)
Project consortium: Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain); SIGFOX (France); ATOS (Spain); PostScriptum (Greece); Van Kralingen BV (Netherlands); Conservazione Beni Culturali (Italy); Uniwersytet Warszawski (Poland); Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza (Italy); Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry (Latvia); Royal Danish Academy. Architecture, Design, Conservation (Denmark); Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (Netherlands); Diputación Foral de Álava (Spain); The Ethnographic Open Air Museum of Latvia (Latvia); Institut Valencià de Cultura (Spain); Art and History Museum (Belgium); Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece (Greece); The Royal Danish Collection. Rosenborg (Denmark); Jerzy Haber Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland)
Funding bodies: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 814624
Subject areas: Collections, Heritage Management, Monitoring, Museums, Objects, Preventive conservation, Sustainability, Tangible Heritage, Technologies - Scientific processes
Budget: 5,759,193.13 €



The concept of Preventive Conservation (PC) of a cultural artefact is based on mitigation of the deterioration or damage due to material ageing and biological, mechanical and chemical degradation processes over time.

The degradation of an artefact depends on the environmental conditions to which it is exposed, such as temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), light (L), air pollutants (AP) - either gases such as NO2 (nitrogen oxides), SO2 (sulphur dioxide) and O3 (ozone) or particulate matter - and vibrations (V) and their synergies.

Cultural artefacts gradually adapt to the environment over time if it is maintained constant. However, their degradation rate increases considerably when they are exposed to short-term or seasonal environmental conditions (fatigue behaviour), as the effects on an artefact are cumulative in time.

These changing environmental conditions are often the result of moving artworks between exhibitions, from exhibitions to storage and vice versa, or during transport for institutional loans to temporary exhibitions.

In addition, cultural artefacts can be made of wood, metal, textile, canvas, paper, ceramic, stone or glass among others, and a large number are made with a combination of these different materials. Since each material has specific reactive behaviour as a function of environmentally-induced stresses and degradation kinetics, there is a vast heterogeneity in terms of physical and material behaviour of artefacts.

So, for an effective PC of cultural artefacts, it is essential to consider the historic environmental stress and degradation kinetics of their different materials (and their synergies) and monitor the artefact at all times. However, due to the complexity and heterogeneity of the material nature of the artefacts, this requires expensive monitoring and control equipment as well as specialised personnel; out of reach for most small to medium-sized museums and collections.

The CollectionCare System

The CollectionCare project, a European Commission Horizon 2020 funded initiative, aims to develop an innovative PC decision support system targeting the needs of small and medium-sized museums and collections. It will integrate current research and technological advances in monitoring systems (sensor nodes), wireless communications, bid data, cloud computing and material and multi-material degradation models into a single affordable system.

This way, the CollectionCare system will be able to monitor the environmental conditions of each artefact individually at any place (on display or in storage, handling or transport), provide degradation predictions of multi-material cultural artefacts and offer suitable recommendations for their proper conservation.

  1. To begin with, the CollectionCare system will monitor the environmental conditions with a low-cost wireless sensor node that will be attached strategically in the room, on the cultural artefact or nearby.
  2. The data collected by the sensors will be transmitted to a cloud computing platform for Big Data using LPWAN technologies.
  3. Then, the recorded data will be automatically stored, analysed and crossed in the cloud with advanced multi-material degradation models, as well as with the European Strandards and Guidelines parameters to evaluate those data.
  4. Later, CollectionCare system will provide degradation predictions for multi-material cultural artefacts, alarms and appropriate recommendations for preventive conservation to control and minimise their degradation, thus ensuring their preservation. This can be viewed through the CollectionCare management software web browser.

This way, CollectionCare will provide an affordable, adaptable and versatile solution for preventive conservation of movable artworks, targeting the needs of stakeholders such as small to medium-sized museums, art galleries, libraries, archives, private collections, transport, storage and handling companies, art management software companies and insurance companies specialising in art.

CollectiveCare specific objectives

  • Development of low-cost, low-power, real-time system
  • Optimisation of current air pollution sensing system to a miniaturised and real-time wireless sensor node.
  • Development of a gateway service
  • Optimisation of wireless communication systems
  • Development of a cloud-based architecture big data system
  • Integration and tailoring of the existing degradation models
  • Integration of the different components developed through the specific objectives into the CollectionCare systems and demonstrating it as a service in museums.

Impacts & Results

Expected impacts

  • Practical and affordable tools/solutions in terms of cost and complexity. Cost reduction of a least 50% comparedto existing solutions.
  • Improved compliance with Preventive Conservation (PC) recommendations, without a negative impact on the budget presently available for PC, in particular for end-users such as small and medium sized museums.
  • Improved CH degradation predictions and modelling-based decision-making with regard to the choice between preventive and remedial conservation measures.
  • Effective market uptake across Europe from the proposed solution in the Cultural Heritage market and beyond.
  • Contribution to open repositories of simulation/experimental/measurement data.
  • Contribution to an increased citizens' awareness of Preventive Conservation of tangible Cultural Heritage.




Preventive conservation
Tangible Heritage
Technologies - Scientific processes
CollectionCare: an affordable service for the preventive conservation monitoring of single cultural artefacts during display, storage, handling and transport
2020 | A. Perles | Pages: 8
PERLES, A.; FUSTER-LÓPEZ, L.; GARCÍA-DIEGO, F.J.; PEIRÓ-VITORIA, A.; GARCÍA-CASTILLO, A.M.; ANDERSEN, C.K.; BOSCO, E.; MAVRIKAS, E.; PARIENTE, T. (2020). CollectionCare: an affordable service for the preventive conservation monitoring of single cultural artefacts during display, storage, handling and transport. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering 949, 012026. ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been growing interest in the development of devices and software packages that allow museum decision-makers to manage the environmental conditions in collections and estimate the evolution of degradation of objects. A system able to monitor the environmental conditions but also to provide warnings and recommendations about failure boundaries would optimize conservation actions and strategies thus ensuring proper conservation of the collections in the long term. CollectionCare project aims to develop an innovative and affordable decision support system for the preventive conservation of cultural objects in small and medium-sized museums by combining research and technological advances in monitoring systems (sensor nodes), wireless communications, cloud computing, big data, and material degradation models. Validation and demonstration activities for the CollectionCare system will be carried out in six different European museums. To this end, communication efforts will be developed to promote the importance and applicability of these technologies in the conservation of cultural objects. All this in order to increase citizens' awareness of the importance of preventive approaches for the conservation of the European cultural heritage.
Climate Change
Paintings - Painted surfaces
Preventive conservation
Tangible Heritage
Technologies - Scientific processes
Investigation on the Use of Passive Microclimate Frames in View of the Climate Change Scenario
2019 | E. Verticchio | Pages: 14
VERTICCHIO, E.; FRASCA, F.; GARCIA-DIEGO, F.J.; SIANI, A.M. (2019). Investigation on the Use of Passive Microclimate Frames in View of the Climate Change Scenario. Climate, 7, 98. ABSTRACT: Passive microclimate frames are exhibition enclosures able to modify their internal climate in order to comply with paintings’ conservation needs. Due to a growing concern about the effects of climate change, future policies in conservation must move towards affordable and sustainable preservation strategies. This study investigated the hygrothermal conditions monitored within a microclimate frame hosting a portrait on cardboard with the aim of discussing its use in view of the climate expected indoors in the period 2041–2070. Its effectiveness in terms of the ASHRAE classification and of the Lifetime Multiplier for chemical deterioration of paper was assessed comparing temperature and relative humidity values simultaneously measured inside the microclimate frame and in its surrounding environment, first in the Pio V Museum and later in a residential building, both located in the area of Valencia (Spain). Moreover, heat and moisture transfer functions were used to derive projections over the future indoor hygrothermal conditions in response to the ENSEMBLES-A1B outdoor scenario. The adoption of microclimate frames proved to be an effective preventive conservation action in current and future conditions but it may not be sufficient to fully avoid the chemical degradation risk without an additional control over temperature.
Paintings - Painted surfaces
Technologies - Scientific processes
Crack channelling mechanisms in brittle coating systems under moisture or temperature gradients
2020 | E. Bosco | Pages: 30
BOSCO, E.; SUIKER, A. S. J.; FLECK, N. A. (2020). Crack channelling mechanisms in brittle coating systems under moisture or temperature gradients. International Journal of Fracture 225, 1–30. ABSTRACT: Crack channelling is predicted in a brittle coating-substrate system that is subjected to a moisture or temperature gradient in the thickness direction. Competing failure scenarios are identified, and are distinguished by the degree to which the coating-substrate interface delaminates, and whether this delamination is finite or unlimited in nature. Failure mechanism maps are constructed, and illustrate the sensitivity of the active crack channelling mechanism and associated channelling stress to the ratio of coating toughness to interfacial toughness, to the mismatch in elastic modulus and to the mismatch in coefficient of hygral or thermal expansion. The effect of the ratio of coating to substrate thickness upon the failure mechanism and channelling stress is also explored. Closed-form expressions for the steady-state delamination stress are derived, and are used to determine the transition value of moisture state that leads to unlimited delamination. Although the results are applicable to coating-substrate systems in a wide range of applications, the study focusses on the prediction of cracking in historical paintings due to indoor climate fluctuations, with the objective of helping museums developing strategies for the preservation of art objects. For this specific application, crack channelling with delamination needs to be avoided under all circumstances, as it may induce flaking of paint material. In historical paintings, the substrate thickness is typically more than ten times larger than the thickness of the paint layer; for such a system, the failure maps constructed from the numerical simulations indicate that paint delamination is absent if the delamination toughness is larger than approximately half of the mode I toughness of the paint layer. Further, the transition between crack channelling with and without delamination appears to be relatively insensitive to the mismatch in the elastic modulus of the substrate and paint layer. The failure maps developed in this work may provide a useful tool for museum conservators to identify the allowable indoor humidity and temperature fluctuations for which crack channelling with delamination is prevented in historical paintings.
See more documents