Das Forschungsprojekt für innovative (Multi-)Methoden zum Monitoring von toxischen Konservierungsmitteln

The research project for innovative (multi-)methods for monitoring toxic preservatives

The aim of our MUSA project is the development and validation of an innovative and at the same time cost-effective, practical (multi) method for monitoring (observation / surveillance) of objects, collections, buildings or parts of buildings contaminated with hazardous substances.

The innovation of the MUSA system lies in the combined development of practical and cost-effective (multi) methods for sampling and a data protection-compliant, web-based MUSA software platform in which the results are also clearly visible to non-specialists. In this way, we want to enable the actors concerned to deal with contaminated objects in a targeted manner and thus contribute to healthy handling.

The project is funded by the German Federal Foundation for the Environment with reference number AZ 37897/01


Short Introduction


To protect and preserve them, organic objects in museum collections or even entire monuments and historic houses have been treated with harmful biocides. The majority of organic objects in museum institutions, but also many historical buildings are demonstrably contaminated with hazardous substances such as DDT, lindane, PCP, arsenic, mercury and possibly others. Nowadays, these treatments with harmful preservatives are forbidden and are no longer used. However, these are still present in sometimes very large, often harmful quantities. The consequences are sometimes heavily contaminated objects, workplaces or rooms in museums, depots, collections, monuments, archives and historical buildings.

There is currently a great deal of uncertainty among the sponsors of museum institutions and employees with regard to the identification and handling of these contaminated objects. This uncertainty has a direct negative impact on the day-to-day work of employees and other stakeholders.

We would like to make handling or working with contaminated collections, monuments and buildings safer and professionalize them by making them easier to handle.

Technical implementation

Due to the simplified handling of the MUSA sampling equipment and the reduction in costs, the barrier effect for using the multi-method is significantly lower than with conventional, cost-intensive methods. In this way, the MUSA system can be used for monitoring over a longer period of time. By using the MUSA method, the proper handling of contaminated objects, buildings or rooms can be improved and possible health hazards can be averted. The monitoring and analysis of the test results are mapped on a digital platform and made available to the participating museums, archives and libraries. In addition to the ease of use and the information content, great importance is also attached to data protection.
laptop, code, programming-2557466.jpg

Main Goals – One system for all

Easy handling and innovative evaluation of results

Every user can carry out the sampling on site himself with the “MUSA test kit”. The sampling process is user-friendly and easy to handle. No special previous knowledge is necessary. With the downstream laboratory analysis and the notification of results via the personalized and access-protected MUSA platform, the user is able to classify their own results directly and quickly.

Relief for the environment

The inexpensive MUSA method not only enables small and medium-sized museums, archives and libraries to identify and monitor hazardous substances that are harmful to health, but private individuals can also use the method. With the help of the shipping and ordering system, long journeys with large analytical devices are avoided and the web-based notification of results means that it is no longer necessary to send the results in paper form. This contributes to the conservation of resources. Furthermore, the more conscious and targeted handling of contaminated collections can also reduce the unwanted entry of hazardous substances and the associated environmental pollution.

Better protection of employees

Contaminated areas can be identified easily and inexpensively, allowing targeted recommendations for action to be implemented. This makes the MUSA system an important pillar in the quality management of museum institutions. The target groups can also be supported by the MUSA further training offers for the safe handling of contaminated collections.




Elise Spiegel

Dr Elise Spiegel set up her own company CARE FOR ART in 2011 and has been offering interdisciplinary and holistic advice on harmful substances for museum facilities ever since.
Weitere Infos

CarolinWübbe_Portrait(2) (2) (1)

Carolin Wübbe

Carolin Wübbe has been working as a research manager at Ascora GmbH in Ganderkesee since 2020, where she oversees both national and international research projects. In her role as research manager...

Rakete Stefan - IPFA_3247

Stefan Rakete

Dr Stefan Rakete is a qualified food chemist with a focus on instrumental analysis. He deals with the analysis of hazardous substances in biological and environmental samples.
Weitere Infos

Foto_Deering Katharina (2) (2)

Katharina Deering

Dr Katharina Deering has a doctorate in human biology and has been working for many years on assessing the risk to workers when handling organochlorine biocides and toxic (semi)metals.


cooperation museums status-report

Completion of our first field test at the Botanische Staatssammlung München (BSM)

For four weeks, the new MUSA system was thoroughly tested in the Botanische Staatssammlung München (Botanical State Collection). A total...
cooperation museums project-team

Start of our first field test at the Botanischen Staatssammlung München (BSM)

After a successful laboratory phase, the MUSA team has now started the first field test at the beginning of July...
cooperation museums project-team

MUSA model museums are opening their doors for us

In November and December 2022, the MUSA team visited all the cooperation museums and inspected the premises relevant to the...
project-team status-report

MUSA gains international visibility

[Picture from jannoon028 auf Freepik] We are very pleased to have been invited to present our MUSA project at two...
Advisory board project-team status-report

Advisory board meeting for the MUSA project launch

On June 24th the first meeting with the Scientific Advisory Board of the MUSA project took place. The aim of...
project-team status-report

June 1st: Starting signal for the MUSA research project

After an extensive preparatory phase, the starting shot for the MUSA research project was given on June 1, 2022. The...


However, we would like to involve you and other interested institutions in the creation of our MUSA biocide database.

The MUSA biocide database records the status quo of biocide exposure in museum facilities with regard to relevant institutional key data (including collection and object types, room data) and analytically relevant parameters (including measuring methods, pollutant type/group/concentration). The focus is on toxic metals and organochlorine pesticides (OCP), which are also the focus of the method development of the MUSA system (see below).

The research results are collected in a database, processed, evaluated and made available digitally on a dashboard with internet access. The participating institutions are guaranteed complete anonymity when the data is published. The statistical evaluation of the collected data is carried out in such a way that a retrospective individual assignment of the results is not possible.

To create the MUSA biocide database, we need museum institutions that provide us with existing data from classic environmental monitoring (dust/room air) for evaluation.

With your help , as part of the MUSA project, we can carry out a comprehensive, systematic recording of relevant, museum hazardous substances of the promote current publicly accessible as well as so-called gray literature and non-public databases.

In this way, 1) the quality and quantity of the hazardous substances used (biocides) 2) particularly affected collections and institutions, 3) documented exposure and health effects on the workers and 4) used analytical methods of environmental monitoring are recorded and evaluated in a structured way.


We will gladly answer your questions