Vibrations and Museum Collections, Part 1


Vibration of museum gallery floors, and the corresponding vibration of museum objects, can be caused by normal human activities under certain circumstances. Vibrations can also be caused by nearby construction work, and these vibrations are often of greater magnitude and significance when it comes to potential damage to collections. Mitigation of problematic floor vibrations, although sometimes challenging, can be achieved using a variety of engineering evaluation and design methods. 

In this article, engineers Arne Johnson and Mohamed ElBatanouny provide brief backgrounds on human- and construction-induced vibrations and illustrate these principles using a recent case study: mitigation of floor vibrations in the new SUE gallery at The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois.

Read Part 2 of this article series to learn from a number of case studies, including a NASCAR Street Race event where cars roared around the Art Institute of Chicago at speeds of nearly 150 mph.

This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of Papyrus, the magazine of the International Association of Museum Facility Administators (IAMFA).