We have a growing number of collections, including archives, records of defunct civic organizations, photos, newspaper clippings, clothing, general store memorabilia, and more! Collection management and care is a very important issue with us, ensuring that all items donated to the White River Valley Historical Society will be maintained for generations to come.
Did you know that even when clean, our fingers can damage vintage items? That’s right, the oils in our fingers can spread to any surface, damaging papers and fabrics. Here at WRVHS, anyone handling a collection item is required to wear gloves at all times—one small way to keep our collections in the best condition possible!
We all have treasures at home, and handling them with special care allows us to preserve these objects for future generations. Careful handling will reduce the risk of physical damage.
Correct handling practices will reduce the risk of physical damage, and assure better preservation of your treasures. Damage such as tears, creases, abrasion, scratches, breakage, and losses is often caused by incorrect handling. Good handling practices are largely based on common sense—being careful, deliberate, and not in a hurry.
Here are a few other points to keep in mind when handling objects:
If you choose to display items, follow these general guidelines:
Fading and color changes are the most common form of light damage. It is important to recognize that damage may occur gradually over many years and may be difficult to notice initially. Damage caused by light cannot be reversed; it can only be prevented. Particularly valuable objects should only be exhibited for short periods of time (3–4 months) at low light levels. Avoid permanent display of your objects, especially photographs and colored prints.
Direct sunlight and high light levels must also be avoided. Keep lighting fixtures away from your objects because they may also produce damaging heat. Dimly lit interior hallways and staircases are often good locations in a home for display. One approach for showing your treasures is to rotate their display when your family is decorating during holidays or on other special family occasions. While professional framing with good quality materials can be expensive, in the long run it is money well spent.
Jane Long and Richard Long. Caring for Your Family Treasures. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000.
Arthur W. Schultz. Caring for Your Collections. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1992.