Preserving Textiles – Tuesday’s Tip

Save Your Stuff Sassy Jane Genealogy

Genealogists are family archivists and sometimes they’re museum curators too. If you are fortunate enough to have them, you need to think about preserving textiles – Grandma’s quilt, Mom’s wedding dress, Great-grandma’s needlework sampler. Here are six quick tips for you.

1. Textiles like the same environment you do. No basements, no attics, no garages, no place where the temperature and humidity cycle up and down constantly.

2. Gravity is not your friend. Store textiles horizontally and roll rather than fold. If you do have examples hanging vertically, take a tip from museums and let them “rest” horizontally from time to time.

3. If you have to fold, pad the folds with acid-free tissue paper from a reputable dealer like Hollinger.

4. Avoid letting your textiles be exposed to direct sunlight and incandescent light. Sunlight comes into your house and on to your walls differently according to the seasons, so make sure that exposure is safe year-round.

5. Buy wardrobe boxes from reputable archival supply vendors like Hollinger to store dresses. Don’t hang them up.

6. Check the backs of framed textiles and remove cardboard, wood, and other highly acidic backing materials. Replace with acid-free mat board.