How can I prepare my collection items for storage?

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Category: Storage
Posted by Conservation Answers(Questions:33:Answers28)
Answered On 25 February, 2014 12:21 am

Before you put items into storage they should be examined and documented. Check for broken and missing parts, and decide on the condition of the item and the best method of storage for it. Photograph and record the item's condition for the museum catalogue. Any items that have no fragile or damaged areas can be gently brushed to remove loose surface dust. Soiled textiles, paper and other similar items are very likely to encourage pests. It is recommended that these be cleaned before being placed in storage.

Note: in some cases certain stains may be highly significant to that item (see the section on Significance Assessment in the topic on Profession: Conservation Theory, Ethics and Practice). It is beyond the scope of this topic to deal with this issue in detail. Nor is it possible to discuss appropriate cleaning methods for heritage items. Refer to reCollections on the AMOL website for more information. It may also be wise to consult a professional conservator for advice. A list of conservators who are members of the AICCM can be found on the AICCM website at

It is especially important to check an item for mould or insect infestation before placing it in storage. If any is found, isolate the affected items from the rest of the collection, and refer to the next topic on Pest Management for advice on how to proceed.

Be careful what types of item are stored together in a box or drawer. For example, some woods can off-gas acidic vapours that can damage paper, fabrics, and metals, and acids in some papers, such as newspaper or very yellowed paper items, can migrate into other items. Where practical, store 'like with like' and when placing several items in one box or drawer, interleave them with layers of a suitable material, such as acid-free tissue. Suitable storage materials are discussed in the next section.

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