Winterthur Museum in Delaware Conducts Independent Study on Window Film for Museum Use

We all know about the many benefits window film has to offer home and business owners – heat rejection, energy savings, protection from fading, reduced glare, an overall enhanced appearance for your windows to name a few.  However, we often don’t think about how vitally important these benefits are to certain institutions such as museums.  Museums are home to collections of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural or historical importance. Those who manage museums are tasked with the often difficult role of protecting these valuables.

The collections manager or registrar is usually the individual responsible for keeping track of all of the museum’s objects, maintaining records of ownership and borrowing and ultimately for the overall safety and condition of the objects on display. They work closely with the museum’s conservator who is often the one to determine the proper climate-control measures needed for specific preservation of objects. Damaging ultraviolet rays and heat coming through a museum’s windows are obviously a big concern for these professionals.  In fact one museum in particular, Winterthur Museum in Winterthur, Delaware, even commissioned one of its conservators to conduct an independent research report on the best type of window film for their museum.

The report summarizes, “the evaluation of UV and visible light filtering films for possible use as part of the multi-tiered system for controlling natural light from the almost 250 windows and doors at the Winterthur Museum” (Springer, 2008, p. 16). Four film manufactures were chosen for the study, Madico Window Films, Global Window Films, 3M, and CP Films.

The study paid close attention to the percentage of ultraviolet light rejected by each film. In fact, the researchers tested each film themselves rather than relying on the specifications provided to them by each manufacturer.  It was of utmost importance to the museum that at least 99% of the ultraviolet radiation coming through the windows was rejected by the film.  Some of the manufacturers’ products did not meet the museum’s requirements when tested independently by the museum, despite the manufacturer’s claims.  In the report it is stated that, “Madico made a broad enough variety of films to match the required tinting strengths at Winterthur” (Springer, 2008, p. 21).

The report concluded by stating, “The testing carried out in the study showed that there has been a significant improvement in the manufacturing of UV and visible light filtering window films. With the appropriate evaluation methods it is possible to choose the best product available and avoid the previous disadvantage of films not eliminating UV light from the 380-400 nm range.” (Springer, 2008, p. 21)

Madico Window Films is pleased to have been chosen for the Winterthur Museum’s study. We are also proud to have met their strict criteria in determining an appropriate window film to protect the museum’s valuable artifacts.

The full report featured in the Western Association of Art Conservation Newsletter can be downloaded, here.

Springer, S. (2008, May). UV and Light Filtering Window Films. Western Association of Art Conservation (WAAC) Newsletter, 30 (1), 16-23.


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