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Thanks to the Archaeological Museum Peccioli, we collected an interesting interview on the use of silica gel in an environmental situation that is not without its problems.

Since 2007, the Archaeological Museum has been located in its new attractive premises in Piazza del Carmine 33, on the ground floor of a historic building. However, this wonderful setting has a high degree of humidity, which is difficult to change due to the nature of the environment.

In order to best preserve the precious collections, especially a particularly delicate piece represented by a medieval belt consisting of 81 bronze elements, decorated with floral motifs fixed on a strip of vegetable fibre fabric about 1 cm high, the Peccioli Museum has developed a Plexiglas and wood display case.

To protect the artefact from humidity, a transparent box containing 500 grams of loose BROWN silicagel was placed inside the case.

Indicating silica gel in display cases of the Peccioli Museum
(Interior of the Archaeological Museum of Peccioli, ©Photographic Archive Peccioliper Foundation)

This silica gel has the peculiarity of changing its colour once exhausted, it is in fact called INDICATING silica gel. Thanks to this characteristic, it is possible to keep the condition of the desiccant under visual control, intervening at the right time to change the product, which will change colour more or less quickly depending on the conditions in which it is working.

Silica gel with color indicator

However, the environment is very special and the microclimate in the rooms means that the humidity inside the display cases must also be kept under control.

The museum staff managed to improve the insulation situation from the outside space by inserting a seal between the plexiglass part and the underlying wooden base. This intervention made it possible to increase the internal insulation of the showcase, which favoured the effect of the desiccant and increased its effectiveness over time.

Brown silica gel protects the Peccioli Museum exhibit from humidity
(Interior of the Archaeological Museum of Peccioli, ©Photographic Archive Peccioliper Foundation)

To date, the Peccioli museum manages to achieve satisfactory results by changing the silicagel BROWN about every fortnight. They do not wait until it is completely exhausted, in order to prevent even the slightest amount of moisture from accumulating. The old silicagel is regenerated and stored for the next change. 

Silica gel with chromatic indicator inside display cases of the Peccioli Museum
(14th-century funeral outfit, Peccioli Archaeological Museum, ©Photographic Archive Peccioliper Foundation)

On the other hand, when completely airtight showcases are available, it is possible to use specific products such as Prosorb that do not dehydrate the environment but stabilise the relative humidity, and maintain it at a particular predefined level, which will be correlated to the specific characteristics of the material to be protected (wood, leather, fabric, paper, etc.).

Prosorb humidity stabilizer for museum
Prosorb’s trays stabilise moisture at a defined percentage.

It must be said that in addition to the right products, used to best safeguard such delicate objects, there is one component that cannot be purchased, and that is the passion and attention that the staff have conveyed to us in telling us about this small piece of their daily lives, and which we thank them for sharing with us.

We thank Dr. Elisa Piludu for her courtesy and professionalism, and remind you of the site of the Archaeological Museum of Peccioli www.fondarte.peccioli.net

Opening hours:

Wednesday 15.00 – 19.00; Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 10.00 – 13.00; 15.00 – 19.00. Closed on New Year’s Eve, First of May, Ferragosto, Christmas, and during the afternoons of New Year’s Eve and Christmas if they coincide with opening days.

Free entrance. For info: tel. 0587 672158 – info@fondartepeccioli.net;  

Completing the Museum Complex in Peccioli are the Palazzo Pretorio Museum and the Museum of Sacred Art, all information is available at www.fondarte.peccioli.net.

If you would like more information on dehydrating products or moisture stabilisers you can contact us here info@silica-gel.it or call us 055 8497548.

You can instead see all the products in our catalogue and buy directly in our shop from here