Tourismisandmustbeacceptableforanymuseum.However, large‐scale tourism has a direct nega‐tive effect on collections such as that of the VasaMuseum. Although it is clear that environmental conditionsaffectarchaeologicalwood,preventiveconservationofsuchcollectionshasnotbeenex‐tensively considered. Wooden shipwrecks havebeen studied from several perspectives mainly inresearch that refers to material degradation andnewtreatments.Themainobjectiveofthisarticleistoraisepublicawarenessofthistopicandhigh‐light the benefits of a well planned preventiveconservation strategy in order to safeguard ar‐chaeological wooden cultural artefacts. Beforeanalysing the example of the Vasa Museum, abrief description of the effects of environment and tourism on archaeological wood and an in‐troduction to preventive conservation manage‐ment are presented.
Woodequilibrateswithitsenvironment.Ifthesur‐roundingconditions change, wood reacts to theabundance or absence of moisture in the air andwill expand or contract. Thomson  recommen‐ded 19‐24 °C and 45‐55% RH as ideal conditionsfor the museum environment housing unpaintedwoodenobjects.AtlowerRHvalues,woodcracks,becomesbrittleandshrinks.Above65%RH, moldgrowthispromotedandswellingincreases.Main‐taining the relative humidity between 50‐60%
reduces most of the visible damage. However, Mi
the lowest common denominator amongst the needs of objects, and not necessarily the op‐timum for each". Each case needs to be analysedindividually and on many occasions this meanstesting the decisions in practice.Whenanobjectismechanicallystable,mostdam‐age is due to RH fluctuations. These can eventu‐allyleadtocracking,checkingandwarpingofthewooden artefact. In addition, fast changes in rel‐ative humidity cause internal stresses due to dif‐ferences of moisture between inner and outerareas[3,p.34].Therefore,anidealenvironment
shiftsarepermittedifthechangeisslow,varyingat maximum over ±5% range [4, p. 269].Relating to temperature, every 10 °C increasedoubles the average rate of organic reactions [3,p. 40]. Therefore, lower temperature levels (15‐20 °C) slow these rates and offer a comfortableenvironment to visitors.Lightaffectswoodinseveralways.Themostseveredamagesareconnectedwithchemicalbondbreak‐age, free radical formation and the subsequent depolymerisation of polymers. In addition, wood
Archaeological wood is an organic material, sensitive to environmental conditions. Wood, even whentreated with polyethylene glycols, adapts to the surrounding environment with physical and chemicalreactions that may be detrimental to its preservation. In addition, excessive tourism has a negativeeffect on the museum environment once its indoor conditions fluctuate directly with the number of visitors.In order to minimize the effects of a negative climate caused by mass tourism on archaeological wood collections, preventive conservation measures should be taken. To illustrate an effective preventiveconservation management, the case of the Vasa museum in Stockholm, which houses the 386 years old Vasa warship, is discussed.