Postcards are an inexpensive and effective way to communicate with friends and family. But most of us have little understanding of their importance in documenting how we got started, especially how the world has changed since the late 19th century.

At the museum, visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in this cultural phenomenon and have access to the world's largest collection of public postcards. As its name implies, the core of the collection is the industrial archives of the printing company, which contains over a million postcards. Between 1898 and 1978, the company kept all of the printed postcards and photographs taken by the seller during his travels in the United States. After the business closed, the family who owned the Lake County summer cottage donated the collection to a local museum, which opened its doors to local and global visitors in 1982.

There are over 10,000 cities in North America, over 87 international images, and the largest collection of Route 66 and Lincoln Highway postcards ever assembled. All computers have been catalogued and are located in the same building as the Lake County Historical Archives. Here you can store large amounts of paper and media in the building. The museum, which totals 22,000 square feet, was once home to the Lakewood Farm and its various buildings. The Archives, once the primary home of the yard, is now an intriguing place, but there are many challenges to maintaining an optimal natural environment for both collections.

Temperature and humidity fluctuations or high temperatures can affect paper. Therefore, it is important to manage the HVAC system to protect the archives. Museums used to use hygrometers to measure humidity and temperature. However, due to mismatched readings and changes in temperature and humidity patterns when the building's roof was replaced, both teams were able to find alternative ways to measure their parameters.

Through conversations with HVAC experts, they learned about a new temperature and humidity data logger from CA-based manufacturer Elitech. I needed something simple, and when these Elitech loggers arrived, I handed them over to my archiving assistant. When he returned to my office two minutes later, he was surprised to hear that he had programmed it. The four loggers are now located throughout the archive, collecting temperature and humidity samples hourly and downloading them once a month to display graphical data. Simply plug it into a USB port and it's easy to program and take with you. So can I.

So far, museums have restricted the use of recorders to archive buildings, but more may be hired in the coming months at the same location. Our large galleries include both permanent and temporary galleries. Recently, we had a photography exhibition with many works. This is a valuable sequence of works, and the same principles that apply to paper apply to photographs and materials. You need to manage the environment in which they are stored so that they are protected from damage. With these data loggers, you can get an accurate picture of the atmosphere and better manage your HVAC, while knowing that your budget is running low.

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