5.3.3 Storage and Handling

February 10, 2021 - 1:51pm by Anonymous (not verified)

House each object in a manner appropriate for its preservation, as well as for ease of safe access by researchers; this decision should be made in consultation with the curator and Preservation Coordination Librarian. Typically store items in boxes (standard or custom-made) or unboxed in the object bins in Art Storage with paper identification tags. In either case, affix to the box or tag the set of labels ordinarily attached to file folders.

Extremely fragile objects may require designation as Restricted Fragile Material. If this is the case, obtain an image of the item to serve as a reference surrogate, either filed in the collection or linked from the finding aid. House and label as described above, adding Restricted Fragile labels, and treat as Restricted Fragile in the finding aid. Very valuable items, such as jewelry, in rare cases may be restricted for security reasons; in this case treat as Restricted Papers. If a valuable item is very small, it may be possible to create housing that makes it accessible without putting it at risk.    

Unstable physical objects, including early plastics made of nitrocellulose, live ammunition, or flammable materials, require special attention from the Preservation Coordination Librarian. Many twentieth-century collections contain matches and matchbooks, which are sometimes retained for their artifactual value. While past practice dictated that match heads be cut off, current policy, supported by preservation and conservation staff, is to leave match heads on (the temperature at which they could combust is so high that fire suppression would deploy before the matches ignited).