7. Always handle the artifacts with
both hands, thus giving them full support.
Don't carry them by an edge or a corner -
they can rip or fall out of your hands very
easily (Fig. 4).
8. If your piece needs repair, consult
a conservator. Your local museum or art
gallery should be able to give you a name.
Don't attempt to repair it yourself.
9. Always use glass or plexiglass in
a frame as protection. If you have a pastel
or charcoal piece, or any piece that has
loose pigment on it, use glass instead of
plexiglass. Glass causes less static electricity,
and won't attract the loose pigment
10. Use a reputable framer who specializes
in museum or conservation matting,
and make sure your frames are sealed
with paper on the back if they are wooden.
This will allow air and moisture to pass
through, but will keep out dirt and insects.
1. Keep books clean, and dust both
books and shelves regularly.
2. On wooden bookcases, check the
shelves as well as books periodically for
insect infestation. At least once a year do
a thorough check of everything for signs
of insects. If there is such an indication,
which might be as slight as minute visible
damage on a page, have the room fumigated.
Be careful when using an exterminator-
make sure he does not spray
the books directly, as this will damage
them. If this doesn't work, consult a
3. Books should be stored firmly,
not tightly, on shelves. They should be
upright, not angled (Fig. 5). Store books
on shelves by size and height- large
books together, small books with small.
Don't mix sizes, as you could cause damage
from edges pressing into covers, or
deformation of the book shape. Very
large books should be stored flat, and not
hang over the edge of the shelf. Align the
books so that the spines are even with
each other- don't push small books
back to the rear of the shelf where you
need to dig to get them out.
Fig. 4. Always carry artifacts with both hands. In this case one hand is used as a support underneath a matted
print. Photo courtesy of the Texas Memorial Museum.
Fig. 5. Store books by size and height, with oversize books flat on the shelf. Note the support cards between
book ends and books. The oversize book on the top is jacketed in Mylar. Photo courtesy of the Texas
4. Watch the outside or end book on
a shelf - the metal fittings on some
shelves that hold the shelf together will
damage books. Always have a support
card (a piece of acid-free matboard will
do) between the book and the shelf wall.
5. If the shelves are not completely
full, use book supports (book ends) with
cards between the books and the supports
to prevent damage (Fig. 5).
6. Leather-bound books that exhibit
red rot (dry, red, powdery leather) should
be isolated from other leather books by
placing a sheet of thin material, such as
polyester (Mylar) or acid-free mat board,
between them. The best method, of
course, is to jacket them with polyester.3
7. If leather bindings are in good
condition, you can use British Museum
Leather Dressing on the bindings (sparingly!)
to help preserve them. This dressing
comes with instructions on use.4
8. If a book is valuable it should be
boxed, either in a rare book box or a
phase box. Slipcases are not recommended,
as the spines fade from exposure
and will turn a different color from the
rest of the book. There is also the danger
of the book falling out of the case when it
9. Old magazines should be stored
in boxes for protection. If they are small
they can be stored upright in the boxes,
but if they are large they should be stored
Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 2, Number 3, Summer 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45444/. Accessed July 6, 2015.