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SiLK - Guidelines for the protection of cultural property

6. Accidents/malfunctions


Cultural property is constantly at risk from accidental damage or technical malfunctions. Apart from major incidents such as the collapse of the Cologne City Archives in 2009, a large number of incidents that caused damage on both a small and large scale are known. The threats include mechanical damage, changes to the indoor climate and water damage.

Possible causes:

  • Human error (improper handling, inappropriate behavior of staff, visitors or users)
  • Failure of display cases, rooms and buildings
  • Incorrect hanging of artifacts attached to walls
  • Air-conditioning and heating system malfunctions
  • Outdoor climate influences
  • Power supply failure

Preventive measures can greatly reduce the likelihood of accidents and malfunctions and mitigate the potential damage.


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