In the contemporary age, museums are dealing with unexpected challenges, related to the transformation of social structures, educative methods and cultural diffusion. The conversion of heritage buildings into exhibition halls and the renovation of existent exhibits involve a series of environmental risks and preservation issues. The study aims to demonstrate that conservation and human comfort are mutually compatible, when based on rational planning, interdisciplinary cooperation, and extensive knowledge of the features of buildings and collections. This study carries out an operative strategy for assessing and managing the environmental risks in museum buildings. To validate its suitability, it is applied to the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan (Italy), an old palace completely reshaped in the 20th century following the typical design concepts of the “Modern Movement of Architecture” (e.g., rational planning, use of innovative technologies and materials, profusion of natural light integrated with artificial lighting, etc.). Several solutions adopted in these years caused both heritage decay and human discomfort. In addition, the insertion of new functions required a complete modification of the original design project. For this reason, the proposed tool supports the environmental risk management connected with these transformations, also defining clear maintenance guidelines, and planning low-engineering and low-impact solutions to satisfy, in a practical way, the daily needs of conservators, heritage authorities and designers. Furthermore, technical skills and the awareness of museum staff has been improved.
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