On the Level: Mold Spore Testing overview image

On the Level: Mold Spore Testing

  • Post Date: 4/17/2019
  • Author: Christa Deacy-Quinn
  • Reading Time: 2 minute read

The Spurlock Museum recently measured the seasonal mold spore levels in our building. Though mold spores are always present in the air around us both outside and inside buildings, we track indoor mold spore levels to better preserve our artifact collections. We tested and recorded the mold levels in five building locations in the spring, fall, summer, and winter to establish our mold count baseline levels. By being familiar with our building’s mold levels, we can better identify mold outbreaks and take remedial action when needed in the future.

  • Professional measuring mold spores using air pump.
    Facilities and Services (F&S) Chemical Safety Professional Patrick Wood tests the air using a sampling pump. We began our tracking process by establishing each season’s outdoor mold baseline by taking one sample outside of our building. This outside level is then compared with those collected inside the building.
  • Professional collecting air samples in museum.
    Patrick collected air samples in five designated locations throughout the museum, including gallery and artifact storage spaces.
  • Bag of sealed cassettes.
    A bag of sealed cassettes used to collect air samples.
  • Air sampling pump used to collect samples.
    The air sampling pump draws air in through the cassette, and mold spores are deposited inside.

To prepare for a potential mold outbreak, select staff members were also medically certified to wear a respirator so they can safely work in a mold contaminated area. Wearing a respirator requires special training and tailor fitting of the mask by a professional Safety and Compliance Professional.

  • Professional demonstrating how to wear respirator correctly.
    F&S Safety and Compliance Professional Jim Marriott demonstrates how Assistant Collections Manager John Holton can test a respirator and confirm an air-tight seal.
  • John performing breathing tests while wearing respirator.
    John performs breathing tests wearing the respirator, assuring he can wear the mask safely.

Though we hope to avoid ever having a mold outbreak, tracking our mold data and conducting respirator training help us be better prepared in case one does occur. Thanks to our colleagues at F&S for their assistance on these projects!