REALM Project

Archives, Libraries,
and Museums


News > Test 6 is underway

Test 6 underway and toolkit materials available


Five materials that are commonly found in furnishings and exhibits of archives, libraries, and museums were selected for the sixth REALM lab test. Battelle researchers will apply a quantity of infectious COVID-19 virus to each item and then place the items unstacked in a test chamber that maintains standard office temperature and relative humidity, with no additional light or airflow. The test will measure how much virus remains after 1 hour, and then after 2, 4, 6, and 8 days under those environmental conditions. The findings from Test 6 can inform prevention and decontamination tactics for handling furnishings, equipment, and exhibits that include these materials.   

The marble was provided by the National Park Service, the powder-coated steel was provided by the Library of Congress, and the laminate was provided by Metropolitan New York Library Council. The other materials were procured as samples from vendors.

The items include:

  • Marble (flooring, counters)
  • Powder-coated steel (lockers, shelving, book trucks, exhibit elements) 
  • Laminate (countertops)
  • Brass (fixtures, railings)
  • Glass (windows, display cases)

The test began on October 8, 2020, and results are expected to be released in late-November.


Toolkit resources

Also available are several materials to help support the interpretation and use of REALM project resources. These materials include:   

  • REALM 101 (about COVID-19 and the project) 
  • A checklist for decision-making 
  • Visual aids comparing all results thus far

Browse the resources




Ask us a question about REALM

Media inquiries

Bob Murphy


(USA / Canada only)