University Archives student assistant cleans item from collection. Photo by University Archives / UNCW.
April 27-May 3, 2014 was American Library Association Preservation Week and May is Preservation Month with loads of great information from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
What are we doing in University Archives to raise preservation awareness? On this blog throughout May, we will share best practices to extend the life of our rare and unique collections in the University Archives, Randall Library, University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Preservation--also known as “preventive conservation”--emphasizes noninterventive actions to prevent damage to and minimize deterioration of a museum object or archival collection.
- Monitoring and recording environmental conditions where collections are housed (e.g., light, relative humidity, temperature, and air pollution)
- Inspecting and recording the condition of objects
- Practicing proper handling, storage, exhibit, housekeeping, and packing and shipping techniques
Taj Mahal model in University Archives. These models are made in various sizes. This one in Archives has a base of 9 in. by 9 in.
In University Archives, we rely on our excellent student assistants to take on essential preservation and collection care responsibilities.
Allison Thompson, Archives student assistant, wore cotton gloves while carefully cleaning the soapstone model. First she dry-brushed the item with a fine brush from a collection care kit and then cleaned it with plain water using a similar brush.
For storage, she fabricated custom archival boxes and lids from ArtCareTM 100 percent cotton mat board. Boxes made of this material help create a safe “microchamber” for archival and museum objects.
This Taj Mahal mini-replica was a gift to former James Leutze upon his retirement in 2003. He donated it to University Archives at that time. Chancellor Leutze, a historian, was host of the UNC Television series Globewatch and an often-sought speaker on international issues.
Chancellor James R. Leutze (2007). Photo by UNCW University Relations.
Knapp, A. M. (1993, July). Preservation of museum collections. Conserv O Gram, 1(1), 1-2. Retrieved from http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/01-01.pdf.