TSG Chapter VIII. Storage of Textiles: Issues and Methods Textile Conservators Face when Planning for Textile Storage - Section C. Storage Materials

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Contributors: Originally drafted by Dorothy Alig, Theresa Heard, and Gwen Spicer. Contributions from: Susan Adler, Deborah Bede, Alicia Bjornson, Canadian Conservation Institute, Lucy Commoner, Judith Eisenberg, Patricia Ewer, Lorna Filippini, Joy Gardiner, Martha Grimm, Robin Hanson, Susan Heald, T. Rose Holdcraft, Jane Hutchins, Claudia P. Iannuccilli, Marlene Jaffe, Mary Kaldany, Kennis Kirby, Teresa Knutson, Susan Mathisen, Zoe Annis Perkins, Betty Seifert, Textile Conservation Laboratory, and R. Scott Williams
Editors: Kathy Francis, Jane Lynn Merritt, Nancy Pollak, and Deborah Lee Trupin. Final Revision, April 2, 1998.
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Copyright: 2023. The Textile Wiki pages are a publication of the Textile Specialty Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.
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Storage Materials[edit | edit source]

Purpose[edit | edit source]

Storage materials are those materials used to wrap or support stored collections. These are the materials in direct contact with the collections. Storage materials provide collections with support, especially for moving and handling, and offer an additional layer of protection from environmental hazards.

Factors to consider[edit | edit source]

  • All materials that are used in contact with stored artifacts should be archival-quality materials that are not harmful to these objects.
Non-buffered, neutral pH papers and boards can be safely used for all textile collections and are recommended for objects with protein fibers.
Buffered papers and boards are generally safe to use with cellulosic collections but have been associated with color changes in some dyes and with corrosion of metals.
  • The surface characteristics of the artifact to be stored can affect the choice of storage materials. For some artifacts, a smooth surface is preferable. For others, some friction between the object and the storage material can be desirable.
  • The size, shape, construction, and condition of the object will influence the selection of the storage material. The storage material chosen must provide sufficient support to the object in storage. Ideally, this support will also be sufficient for moving the object from storage. Alternatively, an auxiliary moving support must be provided. See also Storage Methods.

Materials to Avoid for Storage Supports or Containers[edit | edit source]

Table 3: Materials to Avoid for Storage Supports or Containers
Material Volatile/Migrating Products
    Flame resistant fabrics formaldehyde
    Nylon-6 acetic acid
    Permanent press and crease-resistant fabrics formaldehyde
    Pest-proofed fabrics formaldehyde
    Wool and wool felts sulfides; attracts insects
    Sulfur-containing dyes sulfides
    Kraft paper
    Unbuffered blotter paper acid degradation products
    Tissue paper; blue tissue
    Any papers that are not acid-free or buffered
Paper Products
    Cardboard acid degradation products
    Corrugated cardboard

See also Storage Furniture ,Table 1

Materials that are Considered Safer for Textile Storage Containers or Supports[edit | edit source]

Table 4: Materials Considered Safer for Textile Storage Containers or Supports
    Cotton - pre-washed, desized
    Linen - desized
    Polyester - not from recycled plastics but virgin polyester.
    Reemay, other spunbonded needlefelts, etc. Make sure the product has not been manufactured with adhesives.
    Any dyed fabrics must be washfast.
    Polyethylene - Ethafoam®, Nomaco Backer Rod HBR® Type C, Volara®, Plastazote®
Paper Products
    Unbuffered, neutral pH blotter paper
    Acid- and lignin-free corrugated board
    Unbuffered, neutral pH acid-free tissue
    Buffered acid-free tissue and paper (safe for cellulosics only)
    Polyester film - Mylar®
    Virgin polyethylene film and sheets. (Not all polyethylene film is archival-quality; it may contain antioxidants, processing films, etc.)
    Polypropylene - corrugated polypropylene/polyethylene copolymer sheet such as Cor-X®, Coroplast®, and PolyFlute®
    Polyolefin - Tyvek®
    Poly(methyl methacrylate) - Plexiglas®, Lucite®
    See also Table 2: Summary of Materials Considered Safer for Use in Textile Storage Furniture, page 14.

See also Storage Furniture, Table 2

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

Mibach, I. 1989. Good but cheap: Safe materials to use in storage. Presented at the Ohio Museums Association Meeting, 1989.
Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, Resources Committee. 1992. Supplies and materials for museum collections. Presented at the 7th Annual SPNHC Meeting, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb., June 1992.
Tétreault, J. 1994. Display materials: The good, the bad and the ugly. Exhibition and conservation. Scottish Society for Conservation and Restoration Preprints, 21–22 April, 1994:87.
Tétreault, J. 1993. Guidelines for selecting materials for exhibit, storage and transportation. (Version 4.3). Internal report, Canadian Conservation Institute.
Tétreault, J. 1992. Materials for exhibit, storage and packing (Version 4.1). Internal report, Canadian Conservation Institute (5 May 1992).
Williams, R.S. 1993. Stable materials for storage. Internal report, Canadian Conservation Institute (12 May 1993).
Williams, R.S. 1987. Stable materials for display and packing. Presented at the seminar, Thinking Things Through. Intermuseum Conservation Association, Oberlin, Ohio.

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