Microclimate for Cultural Heritage

Dario Camuffo

Measurement, Risk Assessment, Conservation, Restoration, and Maintenance of Indoor and Outdoor Monuments - 3rd Edition

“Microclimate for Cultural Heritage” is now at its third edition, only six years after its second edition, that could have been considered as a point of arrival in describing the matter. On the contrary, as the author underlines, “it may constitute the starting point of another adventure”.

This is indeed a reference book on the topic and the need felt by the author and by the editor of a new edition is less surprising than it would appear at a first sight. Six new Chapters have been added, mainly due to the importance of considering how microclimate is affected by the increasingly discussed changes in the climate all around the world. We are more and more concerned about the importance of climate change on our everyday lives, but not enough concerned on the meaning of this on monuments and works of art. The book treats this topic in a number of specific chapters added to this third edition.

In its first edition in 1998 the book was conceived as a basic book on the effects of microclimate in confined spaces, specifically, but not only, in relation to the Cultural Heritage. The second edition in 2014 was more focused on Conservation Science, enlarging its audience out of the only Physical Science. In this third edition, multi-disciplinarity is the key word, in that knowledge, diagnostic and conservation are more and more strictly correlated in the different approaches to the Cultural Heritage and the book moves toward a language common to all these different areas in connecting theory to practice with useful examples and many case studies. The latest standards are also presented and discussed.

Looking at this huge book (more than 500 pages), it is to be noted that it is essential in its completeness: six Parts, each one considering a specific topic. Altogether the book is composed of 21 Chapters. Starting from a basic approach to microphysics, it is addressed, as a practical handbook, to conservators as well to scientists: specialists in physics, chemistry, architecture, engineering, geology and biology can enjoy it, in the already mentioned multidisciplinary approach. The book treats extensively atmospheric sciences, like the thermodynamic processes of clouds and dynamics of planetary boundary layer, as well as their application to a monument surface or the micro-physical quantity in a room of a museum.

The relevant number of case studies already present in the previous edition is now enriched by new interesting ones, that consider the real impact of climate change on the Historic Heritage: amazing examples are reported on the sea-level rise in Venice over the centuries, evidencing the submergence of the sea stairs from a comparison between Canaletto paintings and the present sea level.

It is also to be noted that the references at the end of each chapter are often divided into two parts to make their use easier: a part is devoted to “Theory and General Applications” and a second one to the specific “Applications to Conservation”. A further note deserves the very interesting part at the end of the book, dealing with the history of the instrumentation and its evolution in the field of microclimate, particularly as it concerns the Cultural Heritage.

To summarize, the book can be very useful to professionals, researchers and students in the wide and multi-disciplinary field of diagnostic, conservation and restoration of the Cultural Heritage.

Marco Martini
Università di Milano-Bicocca

Dario Camuffo
Microclimate for Cultural Heritage
Measurement, Risk Assessment, Conservation, Restoration, and Maintenance of Indoor and Outdoor Monuments - 3rd Edition
Elsevier Science, 2019
Pag. 582, $ 200
ISBN: 978-0-4446-4106-9
eBook: $ 200
ISBN: 978-0-4446-4107-6