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Cold Storage

Cold Storage

Conservation By Design Limited (CXD) has brought together selected individuals with specific photographic conservation and refrigeration expertise to compliment the conservation storage expertise of CXD with the aim of providing bespoke integrated cold storage solutions for the conservation market.Modern synthetic materials are degrading at an ever increasing rate and cold storage is now widely accepted as being the best way of preserving photographic and special museum collections for future generations.


By developing strategic partnerships with another Royal Warrant holding company specialising in refrigeration CXD now offer the conservation market a wide variety of cold room solutions. Cold rooms can be furnished with shelving, drawers, boxes and envelopes according to the needs of the customer.


To complete the service and ensure that the best conservation advice is given CXD have Nicholas Burnett of Museums Conservation Services Ltd as our cold storage conservation consultant. Nicholas is renowned for his knowledge of photographs and their conservation and is experienced across the spectrum of Museum and Archive collections.

Special Museum collections

Technical Information

Freezing slows the rate of decay of the above ‘high risk’ materials. Storage at –18°C slows decay by a factor of 1000 however it makes access difficult and impractical. Reducing the temperature to just above freezing still offers significant benefits whilst minimising difficulties of access.

Typically CXD suggests aiming at 2°C and 30-40% RH (i.e. 35% +/– 5%) for the previously mentioned types of film. Although a lower RH does offer benefits in terms of chemical stability a slightly higher RH of 35-40% will give greater dimensional stability and this can be decided during consultation.




Key Issues when considering cold storage

  • What is being stored
  • Size of room required*
  • Required Temperature
  • Required RH%
  • How often is access needed and what is the balance between ease of access and what is best for the collections.
  • What are the local/national environmental conditions, those of the building and where will the cold storage room be situated. All of which will affect the equipment required to meet specification.

*The smallest room CXD currently offer is (W x D x H) 2m x 3m x 2.4m Basic Modular Cold Room, with secure locking handle.

For more information, please contact us.

Storage of vulnerable photographic collections

Museums, Libraries and Archives contain a huge variety of items that can benefit from reduced temperature and controlled humidity storage.

They can range from:
  • 20th century furniture
  • Interior décor, scientific
  • Industrial and military objects
  • Contemporary sculpture and artwork

Plastics and synthetic materials

Still images or motion pictures, film and photographic archives throughout the world are fighting to preserve their collections. Among the most at risk are the following types of film typically requiring cold storage:

  • Cellulose nitrate film negatives
  • Cellulose acetate film negatives, Œsafety film
  • Dye-based colour material