Tips and Tricks for Collection Storage

This page is dedicated to providing simple and easy information that will be beneficial to the storage of artefacts, storage locations, archives, libraries and other heritage institutions. A new tip will be posted at the beginning of each week. you are welcome to leave your own comments or provide alternative methods to the information provided.

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Week 27/2014: Remove carpets from storage areas.

Rationale: Carpets acts as both food and breeding ground for pest. It also attracts dust. Carpets is difficult to keep clean without reintroducing dust particles back into the air.

Week 26/2014: Textiles that have been found to contain insects or mould should be removed isolated from other items.

Rationale: This will stop the spread of the infestation or growth of the mould and allow the item to be treated without any harm coming to other items in the collection.

Recommendation: Keep a close control on the environmental conditions of the storage locations as they have a direct on the growth of mould and spread of insects.

Week 25/2014: All boxes used to store items should be pH balanced, acid free and lignin free.

Rationale: Boxes made to these specification have a better preservation, last longer and so not release harmful chemicals as time progresses.

Recommendation: Check the pH balance of boxes regularly.

Week 24/2014: Seal and black out windows and unused doors in the storage locations.

Rationale: This will prevent harmful ultra violent(UV) light from entering the storage location, as well as to improve additional security.

Week 23/2014: No water pipes (besides sprinklers) should run along any surface of the storage location.

Rationale: The potential for water damage is greater and could possibly lead to dampness, change in environmental conditions, and to mould and mildew growth in the storage location.

Week 22/2014: No Wooden Shelving

Rationale: Wood products are not recommended due to off gassing. Primarily acids from wood and formaldehyde from adhesives. Oak wood is especially acidic.

Recommendation: Steel shelving with suit epoxy coating that do not off gas. Shelving that is inert and non-reactive.

Week 21/2014: For most collection especially collection with mixed material a relative humidity (RH) between 40-60 % should be maintained.

Rationale: When RH decreases the objects in the surrounding area may lose their moisture and become brittle. When RH increases the objects run the risk of gaining moisture which will lead to swelling, mould and mildew.

Week 20/2014: Keep objects dust free.

Rationale: Dust attracts moisture and serves as food for pest. It also gathers on a surface and becomes embedded over time.

Week 19/2014: Do not place shelves or other storage units along the exterior walls.

Rationale: These areas are subject to the temperature and humidity changes from outside, which can lead to moisture build up, condensation and mould.

Recommendation: Move shelves to away from the walls. use the space next to walls as walkways and research areas.

Week 18/2014: Items on the shelving is prone to damage to dust from and light.

Rationale: Object that have not been kept dust free for at least 3 month will have to be cleaned with a solution to remove the dust that has been embedded into an object.

Recommendation: Muslin lined with black polyester fabric. It allows air flow and does not create micro-climate on the shelving.

Week 17/2014: Storage locations that have exterior walls need to be kept clean and free of tree branches and plants. No light should shine on these walls as well.

Rationale: Light attracts insects and  this increases the chances of insect infiltration.

Week 16/2014: If you are planning on designing a new storage location try and ensure that the storage is not situated close to any of the main roads.

Rationale: Car emission can seep into the storage location. These emissions can be harmful to artefacts and can accelerate the deterioration of objects.

Recommendations: In case of storage location that are already in this situation and can  not be moved; seal all cracks and gaps in walls and doors. Also ensure that any windows are board up this will also protect against light damage.