most important step in preserving family treasures is providing for safe
day-to-day storage and careful handling. If you display works of art or
historic objects in your home, a few basic procedures will also help maintain
them for the future.
These short video
features by expert artifact conservators and museum specialists will
help you care for objects of many kinds, made of fabric, paper, ceramics,
and other materials. They give you tips for handling and storing antique
textile items, such as quilts and clothing. They explain how to preserve
important family papers and historic documents. They discuss procedures
for the treatment of framed works of art and fragile artifacts.
Keep in mind a few
basic tips, whatever your circumstances or the condition of your family
- Take your time,
and don't hurry when handling objects or papers.
- Keep your hands
very clean and dry; better yet, wear plain white cotton gloves.
- Keep notes about
your objects and your steps to care for them, and preserve the notes
as well. For example, record the date and name of borrower if you
lend them out of the house, or when a new crack appears.
- Take photos of
the objects from all sides, even simple snapshots.
- Keep a few simple
tools and materials for object care that are not used for anything
else (for example, a dusting brush).
- Hold on to original
wrappings. The originals wrappings or the container an object came
in may have many clues about it. When you start to use good modern
storage materials for preservation (described in the videos), don't
throw out the old containers without saving every shred of historical
evidence (for example, a fragment of a dated newspaper, or a signed