Preserving Family Treasures

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


This short class is intended to introduce participants to preserving family treasures

Text of Preserving Family Treasures

  • Preserving Family TreasuresLYRASIS Preservation ServicesFunded in part by a grant from the National Endowmentfor Humanities, division of Preservation and Access.
  • LYRASIS Preservation ServicesWe offer: Education and training: full-day workshops, live online andself-paced classes. Information and referral: call us with your preservationquestions! Loan services: we have environmental monitoring equipmentavailable for loan. Publications: all types of preservation publications,downloadable for free. Disaster assistance: We are available 24/7 to assist you. Consulting: personalized assistance for your specificpreservation needs.
  • Welcome This short class is intended to introduceparticipants to preserving family treasuresand will cover the following topics: What are family treasures? Why materials deteriorate Storage and shelving practices Supplies and materials Care of materials by category Insurance and appraisal When to seek help from a professional
  • What are Family Treasures?
  • What Would You Save? If your house was on fire and your family(people and pets) are all safe, what onething would you take out of the housewith you?
  • What Would You Save??? Whatever you said you would save, there is agood chance that it is a personal essentialrecord and/or a family treasure.Lets learn more about personal essentialrecords.
  • Personal essential records arethose items thatHelp you respond to emergenciesProtect health, safety, and rightsRequire massive resources toreconstructDocument the history of community andfamiliesWe will look at each category over the next few slides.
  • Some records are necessary foremergency responseIn your personal life, this means having afamily emergency plan. What kinds ofquestions does a family emergency plancover?---Does your family have an alternate place to meetif you couldnt get back home?--Do you have emergency supplies like food andwater readily available?--Do you know how to shut off the water or gas inyour house?
  • For more on emergency planning:Federal Emergency Management Agency- Ready America:
  • Other records protect your rights anhelp you function after a disaster: Mortgages/rental agreements Birth, marriage, and death certificates Medical records Insurance Medical Homeowners Car Life
  • Some personal essential recordswould be difficult to reconstructBased upon large amounts of dataExamples: Tax records Cell phone contacts Email and physicaladdress books
  • Some records document family history These are FAMILY TREASURES They do not need to be made ofpaper, but can be made from avariety of materialsyourgrandmothers china, a high schoolyearbook, photographs of yourgreat-grandparents, your greataunts quilt
  • Why do materials deteriorate?
  • Why Materials Deteriorate Chemical and physical NOcomposition Storage conditions YES Use and handling YESBrittle scrapbookCan we control?
  • Chemical and Physical Composition Most family treasures are composed of organicmaterials, and organic materials are designedto break down over time. Some materials are inherently more stablestone and ceramic for example, while othersare less so, like most paper and textiles. Some materials weaken because of the waythey were put together--poor quality bindingscontribute to the deterioration of manyscrapbooks, for example.
  • Sources of Damage Prolonged exposure to heat and humidity: Speeds up chemical deterioration processesalready occurring in paper, photographs, andaudiovisual materials Exposure to light: Fades inks, pigments, and final image materialin books, documents and photographs Speeds up chemical deterioration
  • Sources of DamageOne can seewhere anotherbook was storednext to this onethe parts of thecover exposed tolight have faded.
  • Sources of Damage:Tape and Glue Use of acidic adhesives and tapes does moreharm than good Results in staining from adhesive andadhesive creep Adhesive creep= adhesive migrates andsticks to other materials Adhesives are bad for long term preservation
  • Sources of Damage (continued) Wear from use (china gets chipped, biblesgets ink or coffee stains on them) Do not stop using them, but beware of theirfragility and handle with careThose items that are extremely valuable to us areprobably going to be used and handled a lot.
  • Sources of Damage (continued) Poor quality storage materials Appropriate paper storage materials like alkalinebuffered and acid-free papers and boards haveonly been widely available for 25-30 years.Anything older than that has the potential to beharming your records and treasures. Be suspect of plastics of unknown origin and notfrom reputable vendors. Certain kinds of plasticslike PVC can very harmful for collections storage.
  • Cracks in ceramics, wooden objects, andpaintings: can occur due to physical damage, extremetemperature and humidity conditions, and chemicaldegradation Books with loose or detached bindings: canfurther fall apart and cause more severe damage Adhesives yellowing and failing: like Elmers Glue, isnot made to last for hundreds of years. Over time, the glueyellows and cracks Water damage and signs of mold: broken pipes,leaky roofs or basements, have resulted in water damage todocuments. If left unnoticed, mold may develop, puttingboth the document itself, and potentially your health, at risk.Some Signs of DeteriorationHave You Seen Any of These?
  • How Can We PreserveOur Family Treasures?We can not change the chemicaland physical composition ofmaterialsWe can change the way we storeand handle them to help extend theiruseful lives
  • Storage and Supplies
  • Storage Practices: Cool and Dry Would you want to live in a hot, humidhouse filled with bugs? Neither do yourcollections!Usually, the attic or the basement is theWORST place to store your collections becauseof fluctuations in temperature and humidity,the potential for leaks, and rodents, and thefact that you probably dont spend a lot of timein those locations, so you are not in tune withyour collections environments.
  • Storage Practices:Location, Location, Location! Avoid basements or attics:--Both places are notorious for waterdamage/mold from leaks--Often these spaces lack insulation Do not place shelving along exterior walls(temperature and humidity fluctuations) Avoid prolonged exposure to directsunlight Keep away from skylightsthey leak!
  • Storage Practices: Cool and Dry In general, your family treasures should bestored in places that are Cool Dry Well-ventilated Free from pests Protected from light Protected from fire Protected from leaks
  • Storing Your Family Treasures:Temperature & Relative Humidity Control Ideal conditions 68-72 F and 30-50%relative humidity Try to make incremental changesMoveitems from attic to room with betterconditions for starters If you cool with window units, run at lowspeeds to increase dehumidificationcapability
  • Materials Sensitive to High Humidity Metal Paper Textiles Wood Inlay Veneer Finishes Parchment Paper Mache Baskets Magnetic mediaThink about where theseitems are located in yourhouse.Are they stored in the attic?The basement? The barn orshed? These are placeswhere you are likely to haveleaks and a potential forhigh humidity, which canlead to swelling and mold.Avoid air conditioning vents,where air tends to be damp.
  • Materials Sensitive to Low Humidity Wood Rawhide Leather Parchment Animal glues Tortoise shell Ivory Inlaid surfacesFurniture can dry out, woods can crack, veneers can peel. Sinceyou probably have these objects stored in the same place asthe items that are sensitive to high humidity, this can provequite a challenge. Try and control the fluctuations andextremes in either direction. There is more humidity in thesummer. In the winter, the heating system kicks on and driesup the air in your house. Keep materials away from directsource of heat/air vents to minimize the damage Baskets Quill Vellum
  • Storing Your Family Treasures:Air Circulation Stagnant air often found inattics/basements Stagnant air = happy mold spores Fans can increase air circulation and