We have just completed a project to install UV light reducing filters to our windows.
Read on to learn about how and why we are controlling light levels at Strokestown Park House.
We’re all aware of the common risks to the contents of old houses like Strokestown Park. Fire and water are the most obvious. Wood eating insects, pests and theft also spring to mind. Sunlight is less obvious, but is also a substantial risk.
Light radiation, particularly ultraviolet (UV) light in sunlight, can cause photochemical changes in a material. These changes include fading in colour and embrittlement of fabrics and paper. Light entering a room through glass also creates heat which can accelerate chemical reactions and effect ‘relative humidity’, causing or speeding up deterioration in collections.
Silks, photographs and watercolours are most vulnerable to light, but all objects made from organic materials like paper, cotton, wool, flax, leather and wood are susceptible. Reds and pigments made from natural dyes are most prone to fading.
On the other hand, light is needed to view items and blocking out all daylight with blackened or tinted glass is not an option for historic houses. The challenge is to find a compromise.
This summer the Irish Heritage Trust have completed a project to address light levels at Strokestown Park by installing UV filters over our windows. The contents of the house have been surveyed to assess their vulnerability and a light meter was used to measure levels of sunlight throughout the house.
Join us this August for a Heritage Week 2023 tour of the property with our Curator, focusing on this and other conservation work which has been undertaken at Strokestown Park over the past five years. Details of dates and times will be posted closer to the event.
The filters, manufactured by Solar Screen come in the form of a clear film which is attached to the inside of the glass. Despite being practically invisible they block 95% of UV light. This allows us to maintain the appearance of the old house while protecting the contents from light damage.
This project has been supported by the Heritage Council under the Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2023