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Data collection and development of methods for the assessment of vibration risks and the formulation of protective measures.

Are vibrations damaging? What is the acceptable level of vibration for a particular object or collection? How can objects be protected?

Public works near the Central Station in Amsterdam, 20 september 1951.

Public works near the Central Station in Amsterdam, 20 september 1951. Photo: Ben van Meerendonk / AHF, collection IISG, Amsterdam

Museums, curators and conservators are increasingly asking these questions, partly because of the increasing demand for loan objects and the vibrations that subsequently occur during the transport of such valuable cargo. There are also concerns about construction work or heavy traffic in the vicinity of a collection, and events such as concerts nearby or in a museum.


The effect of vibrations is cumulative, just like the influence of light on the ageing and fading of objects. This issue concerns not only the level but also the duration of the vibrations. Information on this combination could not be found in the cultural heritage literature where it was almost exclusively about measured and permissible levels for shock or impact stress. This is also important, but concerns a different kind of stress.

Level and duration        

In this project experiments and measurements were performed in order to determine the influence of vibration level and duration on the condition of objects. Some of these tests were carried out on real objects. In addition reference measurements were carried out in various museums and during transport in order to gain a better picture of typical vibration levels.


Using this data, it is now possible to indicate which vibration situation poses the least risk for specific object types. Practical measures offering vibration protection were also developed. Furthermore, in a doctoral research under this project, a computer model was developed to predict the resonance of paintings.