Sensing technology helps preserve classic gown


Environmental sensing technology is helping preserve an icon of American pop culture.

Marilyn Monroe’s famous white “subway” dress grew from a role in the 1955 movie “The Seven Year Itch” to become the focus of countless photos and other memorabilia. Now stored in a vault in the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Motion Picture Museum in California, the dress, valued at $2.2 million, is being preserved from shifts in climate, humidity in particular, by a sophisticated system of high-tech devices.

“Excessive humidity can be a severe enemy to antique textiles,” explains Todd Fisher, museum CEO and son of actress Debbie Reynolds. “While our museum environment is extremely stable, the mentality is that we don’t want to take any chances and find out one day that mold has been growing on the dress. The more safeguards we have, the better.”

The museum uses Hobo data loggers from Onset Computer Corp . to measure and record humidity levels around-the-clock, even during power outages. Accompanying software converts the data into time-stamped graphs that can be displayed and printed by a PC or a MAC. The battery-powered devices are roughly half the size of a standard iPod.

Data are examined at least weekly, and sometimes daily, to make sure humidity levels stay below 50%. Temperature is maintained around 68 °F. “Our long-term goal,” says Fisher, “is that nothing extreme happens, although any fluctuations in temperature and humidity are a problem.”

Fisher believes that classic movies are an important part of American history and that thousands of years from now the only remains will be tangible items such as costumes and props. “By taking advantage of new technology, we can better manage our collections so that they will be here for generations to come.”

—Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, Control Engineering,

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me