Preservers Picture   he 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 artifacts:

  • 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 birthday card).