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EC project MEMORI: Innovative Research for Market Transfer

MEMORI: Measurement, Effect Assessment and Mitigation of Pollutant Impact on Movable Cultural Assets. NILU is from 1st November 2011 coordinating a new EC project; MEMORI. MEMORI will go on for three years until the end of 2014.

MEMORI: Measurement, Effect Assessment and Mitigation of Pollutant Impact on Movable Cultural Assets. NILU is from 1st November 2011 coordinating a new EC project; MEMORI. MEMORI will go on for three years until the end of 2014.

The main general objective of MEMORI as defined in the DOW (Description of Work) is:

“To provide the conservation market with innovative non destructive diagnosis technologies for easy assessment of environmental impact on indoor cultural heritage, based on monitoring of state of preservation and on previous EC research results, including a preventive strategy to secure the conservation of movable cultural assets in protective enclosures, and contributing to energy saving to mitigate climate change.”

The main goals of MEMORI are defined as follows:

  • To integrate two dosimeter technologies from previous EC projects.
  • To produce a PC software and an interactive web page for the users.
  • To implement a business plan.
  • To assess the damage impact of organic acids on cultural heritage objects.
  • To suggest optimised active and passive control regimes for protective enclosures.
  • To facilitate the use of protective enclosures to save energy and mitigate climate change.
  • To integrate results with existing preventive conservation strategy.
  • To effectively disseminate results.

MEMORI includes 14 European partners and eight end users including the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Japan and two conservation equipment companies:

Figur over partnere i MEMORI-prosjektet

The MEMORI Project Partners are:

  1. Norwegian Institute for Air Research, NILU, Norway, Co-ordinator
  2. Fraunhofer – Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung EV, Germany
  3. Kultur und Arbeit EV, Germany
  4. University of Pisa, Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry
  5. University of Ghent, Belgium
  6. Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Conservation, Denmark
  7. University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Austria
  8. University of Arts “George Enescu”, The Centre for Research in Conservation and Applied Arts, Romania
  9. Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, UK
  10. Birkbeck College, School of Biological Sciences, University of London, UK
  11. SIT Transportes Internacionales S.A. Spain
  12. The Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery, UK
  13. Dublin City University, Optical Sensors Laboratory, Ireland
  14. NILU Innovation AS, Norway

The MEMORI work plan

MEMORI has work packages for development of an instrument for measurement of air quality in indoor cultural heritage locations, for measurement of the effects of organic acids on organic cultural heritage materials, for design of optimal protective enclosures for cultural heritage objects indoor, for integration of the obtained results in state of the art preventive conservation strategy, for dissemination of results and for management of the project.

Instruments development

In MEMORI NILU will in cooperation with the Fraunhofer institute develop a small portable instrument for reading of results from air quality measurements made in combination with the NILU EWO dosimeter previously developed in the EC projects MASTER and PROPAINT and with a Fraunhofer Glass dosimeter previously developed in the EC project AMECP.

The two dosimeters measure the photo-oxidising and acidic properties of the atmosphere indoors in cultural heritage locations, respectively. Simultaneous application of both gives a measure of the quality of the air environment that can be compared with recommended levels for cultural heritage locations with different protection from the outdoors. The combination of both dosimeters and the production of a reader that can be used at location in the cultural heritage institutions will make this technology more accessible for the users.

Figur som viser bruken av MEMORI dosimeteret

Degradation effect of organic acids

To understand better the importance of indoor air pollutant levels for the preservation of cultural heritage objects MEMORI includes five work packages where European universities and arts institutes will study the degradation that happens to organic cultural heritage materials and objects that are exposed to the often high level of organic acids present in protective enclosures. This is important knowledge as such enclosures are increasingly used. NILU will take part in this research by performing controlled accelerated exposures of sample materials to the selected air pollutants.

Protective enclosures

Besides giving physical protection the use of enclosures, such as showcases, for cultural heritage objects gives a stable environment without the need for extensive indoor climate and pollution control of whole buildings. The MEMORI dosimeter will suited to assess air quality inside such protective enclosures.

The MEMORI project also includes an important work package with several partners who will study in detail the designs of enclosures and the possible control regimes that can be used to give the best possible protective environment for objects. This work will in particular study how the installation of various absorbing materials and designs affect the internal enclosure environment and obtain better characterization of the absorber properties.

Preventive conservation strategy

MEMORI includes active conservation partners and end users that will evaluate the new instrument technology, the new knowledge about degradation effects due to air pollutants and about the enclosure environments obtained in MEMORI in the context of state of the art preventive conservation practice.


This integration with preventive conservation practice is important also in relation to the marketing effort for the MEMORI instrument and for the related results presentation systems and evaluation methodology that are important parts of MEMORI. It is a major goal in MEMORI to produce an instrument that is tested and ready for production and that can make the assessment of the quality of the indoor environments in cultural heritage institutions easier and more accessible, and thus assist in the preservation of our common cultural heritage.

The MEMORI budget

MEMORI has a total budget of 3.2 million Euro. The NILUs plus NILU innovation part of this budget is 820 000 Euro. This gives a total number of 50 person months for NILU NILUs plus NILU innovation.