Qualidade do ar interior em museus, bibliotecas e arquivos e sua importância na preservação de acervos

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The investigation presented herein, aimed to achieve a better understanding about the pollutants inside museums, libraries, and archives (MLA) without disregarding the already pre-established guidelines for human health, and aimed to ascertain how the Portuguese and Brazilian institutions approach the subject. Based on literary review, which provided an understanding of the evolution of research on pollutants in the heritage environment over the years, it was observed a reduced incidence of publications and research coming from countries like Portugal and Brazil. The case studies in two Portuguese museums, Museu Coleção Berardo (MCB), Lisbon, and Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis (MNSR), Porto, showed the relevance of carrying out measurements of pollutants not only in museum spaces, but also inside showcases. At MCB the results of the analysis showed concentrations of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) about 11 times higher in the exhibition gallery when compared to the inside of a display case containing a modern painting (wood, oil and metal), while the concentrations of acetic acid and formic acid were the opposite. It was also possible to identify about 100 different COVs from materials used in the renovations of the exhibition galleries, using solid phase microextraction technique followed by gas chromatography analysis coupled to a mass spectrometer (SPME-GC/MS), In the study carried out in MNSR, it was possible to verify that in the same building, the air quality can present itself differently among different places when regarding the types and quantity of pollutants. The sampling carried out in an empty showcase allowed identification of 53 different compounds, whose total concentrations of VOCs were up to 90 times higher than those recommended for collections in general. Inside a wooden cabinet in a storage of ceramic materials and archaeological glass, the potential of wood to emit volatile acidic compounds and formaldehyde was evident, with concentrations detected higher than those recommended for collections. The studies carried out in Portuguese museums were complemented by the results of previously distributed surveys, where the lack of protocols and guidelines regarding the control, systematic monitoring, limit values of volatile compounds and particulate matter, in collection microclimates and inside showcases was detected. Based on this observation and as a strategy to implement the acquired knowledge, the Luso-Brazilian Thematic Network on Indoor Air Quality in Museums, Libraries and Archives (QAI-MBA) was created, with the main goal of disseminating knowledge on the subject of pollutants and their influence on air quality, as well as promoting interaction between researchers, who hold the technical and scientific knowledge, and MLA professionals, whose responsibility is to safeguard the collections
Date of Award7 Jul 2023
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPatrícia R. Costa (Supervisor), Eduarda Vieira (Co-Supervisor) & Teresa Alexandra da Silva Ferreira (Co-Supervisor)


  • Indoor air quality
  • Pollutants in museums
  • Risk assessment
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Preventive conservation


  • Doutoramento em Conservação e Restauro de Bens Culturais

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