Winter is Here. Protect Your Art Collection

Protecting Art Collection

Despite recent warm temperatures, winter began on December 22nd. Seasonal changes are a good time to assess the safety of an art collection. Hurricane season has attracted the most recent attention in terms of disaster-preparedness, but winter weather also brings considerable risks to collections. Obvious threats are frozen pipes and dry air, but there is more to protecting art than adequate heating. This time of year brings many parties – and beware — no one wants red wine spilled on their Robert Ryman. Here are some recommendations for keeping fine art safe and sound until spring time.

Tips for Inside the Home

  • Sustain temperatures of 70 degrees to protect art and prevent frozen pipes
  • Humidity levels should remain at 50% – consider getting a humidifier
  • Be mindful of art above fireplaces to avoid smoke damage
  • Protect paintings from crowds at holiday parties. You can place plants or furniture in front of art works to avoid collisions or spills

Exterior Maintenance

  • Regular care of gutters, electrical systems, heating systems are all crucial
  • Check roofs for excess snow or ice that could cause leaks

 Security Practices

  • Have someone check in on your home and its contents if you are traveling or staying at another residence for the winter season
  • Check locks on windows and doors and use a home security system.

Many of these points may seem like ordinary measures, but that is often the very reason they are overlooked. Collectors often do not recognize the importance of conventional maintenance checks or household upkeep. It does not take long to check gutters or put precautions in place for a holiday party. By simply keeping these key tips in mind and acting early, you can protect your collections and dramatically reduce the risks they face. It may be warm out now, but the cold weather is coming.

About the Author:

Thomas Burns is a Vice President at Fortress New York, a premier provider of fine art, antique and household storage in New York, Boston and Miami.