Archival Storage Rooms


Darwin Chambers Company’s NFPA, GSA, and NARA Directive 1571-compliant Archival Storage Chambers are engineered to provide maximum value, efficiency and conformance with all applicable standards and codes. Archival chambers provide environmental controls for storing records and materials (including paper documents and items with high fibrous content, various films, microfiche, and photographic materials) that require permanent protection for storage and preservation. Our high-performance systems are offered with nearly unlimited operational fail safes, including full system and control redundancy. In addition to keyed entry, numerous security options are also available, due to the often irreplaceable nature of the materials to be stored and preserved in this type of chamber. Our chambers are engineered to accommodate the loads and unique requirements of the specific materials to be stored, with industry-leading control and uniformity of both temperature and humidity variables. Design considerations include both functional and operational efficiencies and reliability, the safety and comfort of operating personnel, and the ongoing protection of the archived materials from fire, water, light degradation, pests, mold and natural contaminants, pollutants and other man-made threats.


  • Desired set-points can be achieved depending on the nature of the preserved media.
  • Books, papers, and paintings: 10°C (50°F), 30% RH
  • Film, photographs, microfilm: 1.7°C (35°F), 35% RH
  • Allows exceptional temperature control anywhere within the range of 0°C to 21°C (32°F to 70°F)
  • The standard chambers do not include humidification but it can be added as an option for unusual applications.
  • We incorporate an innovative dryer control system that maximizes performance while lowering energy requirements and increasing reliability
  • In contrast to existing control systems that cycle dehumidification systems on and off, decreasing life span and causing erratic control, the Darwin solution accurately modulates the dryer output, maximizing reliability and producing tight control
  • Supplied with LED lights which emit significantly more light per unit of input energy than fluorescent bulbs. They also produce less radiant heat, and with less heat used, the cooling requirement for the controlled environment is diminished and the total energy used by an LED-equipped chamber is substantially reduced.
  • Personnel emergency alarm: illuminated pull to reset push-button (inside room), control panel mounted visual and audible alarm. Includes glow in the dark label and a glow in the dark antimicrobial pull cord that can trigger alarm when pulled, a life saving feature for injured personnel lying on the floor.


Standard Features

  • 4” to 6” Polyurethane Foam Insulated Panels, R- Value 31+ or Higher
  • Embossed White Aluminum Interior Surface Finish
  • Embossed White Galvanized Steel Exterior Surface Finish
  • Exceptional Temperature And Humidity Uniformity
  • Temperature Control At Sensor / Set-Point: ±0.2° C
  • Humidity Control At Sensor: ±0.5%.
  • High / Low Alarms
  • Flexible Configurations
  • Complies With LEED Standards
  • Energy Efficient Offering Lowered Maintenance Costs
  • Pre-tested, Pre-charged Refrigeration Systems
  • Non-proprietary Controls
  • Corrosive Resistant Equipment
  • Precision Sizing
  • Diurnal Cycling Temperature
  • Regenerating Desiccant Dryer
  • CSA certified control panel (UL equivalent)

Optional Features

  • Added Ultrasonic Humidification
  • Extended Temperature And Humidity Ranges
  • Stainless Steel / Special Surfaces
  • Ethernet / Remote Monitoring / Alarming
  • Corrosive Resistant Equipment
  • Added Redundancy in Controls and/or Conditioning system
  • Data Logging
  • Water-Cooled Or Air-Cooled Condensers
  • Custom Lighting Systems
  • High Density Shelving
  • Unlimited Door / View Window Sizing
  • Insulated Glass View ports
  • High Weight Capacity Flooring
  • Calibration / Validation / Maintenance Services
  • Touchscreen Control Interface
  • Vestibules and Intermediate Conditioning Spaces Available
  • Decontamination Options
  • UV Filtration of Interior Lighting
  • Desiccant Dehumidification Redundancy Options
  • Antimicrobial Coating on door handle to reduce the spread of bacteria and pathogens.

The Darwin Advantage

All installed instrumentation is calibrated to NIST traceable standards and provided with a calibration form. In-house, factory calibrations are performed using state-of-the-art equipment with great accuracies. These reports are three-point verifications, traceable calibration documents.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Archival Storage Rooms

What Is an Archival Storage Room?

An archival room is a specialized storage space meticulously engineered to safeguard a wide array of historical, cultural, and valuable materials, including but not limited to paper documents, manuscripts, photographs, films, artworks, textiles, and artifacts. These rooms are designed to mitigate environmental factors such as temperature fluctuations, humidity variations, light exposure, pollutants, and pests, all of which can accelerate the degradation of sensitive materials over time. By controlling these parameters within strict tolerances, archival rooms aim to prolong the lifespan of stored items and preserve their integrity for future generations to access and appreciate.

What Is the Best Type of Storage for Archival Preservation?

The optimal storage solution for archival preservation relies on the principles of preventive conservation, which prioritize controlling environmental conditions to minimize deterioration. Scientifically, archival preservation involves maintaining stable temperature and humidity levels to inhibit chemical reactions and microbial growth, thereby slowing the aging process of materials. Additionally, utilizing archival-quality storage containers made from acid-free, lignin-free materials helps mitigate physical damage caused by acidic degradation. Implementing proper handling protocols, adequate support structures, and security measures further contribute to ensuring the long-term viability of archived materials.

What Are the Key Factors to Consider When Designing a Custom Archival Storage Room?

When designing a custom archival storage room, you need to consider various factors to ensure optimal preservation conditions and functionality. Some key factors include:

  • Environmental Control: Precise regulation of temperature and humidity levels.
  • Lighting: Minimizing exposure to UV and visible light to prevent fading and deterioration.
  • Air Quality: Filtering pollutants and controlling particulate matter to maintain cleanliness.
  • Space Planning: Adequate shelving, aisle space, and layout for efficient storage and retrieval.
  • Security: Implementing access controls, surveillance, and monitoring systems to safeguard valuable materials.
  • Accessibility: Designing for ease of retrieval, maintenance, and workflow optimization.
  • Material Compatibility: Selecting storage materials and furniture that are chemically stable and inert.
  • Disaster Preparedness: Incorporating measures to mitigate risks from fire, water damage, and other emergencies.

How Do You Determine the Optimal Temperature and Humidity for Archival Storage?

The optimal temperature and humidity for archival storage depend on the specific types of documents and materials being preserved. Generally, a temperature range of 65-70°F (18-21°C) and humidity levels between 30-50% relative humidity are considered suitable for most archival materials. However, certain materials may have specific requirements; for example, photographic materials may benefit from lower humidity levels to prevent mold growth, while some organic materials like leather may require slightly higher humidity to prevent desiccation and embrittlement. It's crucial to consult conservation guidelines and material-specific recommendations when establishing storage conditions.

What Certifications and Standards Do Darwin Chambers’ Archival Storage Rooms Meet?

Darwin Chambers’ archival storage rooms conform to several prominent certifications and standards, ensuring top-notch quality and compliance:

  • NFPA Standards: Darwin Chambers’ archival storage rooms comply with the guidelines established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ensuring robust fire safety measures are integrated into the design and construction of the storage facilities.
  • GSA Requirements: These rooms meet the stringent requirements set forth by the General Services Administration (GSA), guaranteeing adherence to federal standards for security, durability, and efficiency.
  • NARA Directive 1571: In alignment with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Directive 1571, Darwin Chambers’ archival storage rooms uphold the prescribed standards for archival preservation, ensuring that stored materials are safeguarded against degradation and environmental hazards.
  • NIST Traceable Calibration: All instrumentation within Darwin Chambers’ archival storage rooms undergoes calibration to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceable standards. This calibration ensures the accuracy and reliability of environmental monitoring, vital for maintaining optimal storage conditions and preserving archival materials.