Whether you collect old baseball cards and stamps or have a collection of rare Japanese swords, keeping your memorabilia safe is always the number one priority. Proper storage will ensure that your items remain preserved and intact (if you collect rare artifacts or very expensive items, keep a photographic record for insurance purposes).
First decide if you want to store an item or display
it. Some items cannot withstand exposure to light, dust or moisture and should be stored away instead. No matter what items are being stored, never place them in areas with extreme temperatures such as a garage, attic, or basement. Also keep them away from areas that are prone to moisture or dryness and spots with excessive dust. Do you have room for glass showcases or trophy cases in your house? If not, storage it is!
In order to store an object safely, you should know how old it is, what it is made out of, and what type of climate you live in. Each piece will need to be stored or displayed differently. An antique wood clock cannot be preserved the same way as an ivory statue. You will need to research the artifact to learn about what temperature it can stay in or how much light it can be exposed to.
Old photographs and papers need to be kept in acid-free albums or boxes. Remove any glue, tape, rubber bands, or staples that could scratch the photos. Gently label pictures with a permanent marker. If you're storing a large pile of photos in a box, place a piece of acid-free paper between each one. Album sleeves should also be free of PVC. Wood and wood products, like cardboard, are harmful to photographs.
When it comes to displaying precious artifacts, you will need to use acrylic or glass showcases. Search online to look for showcases that are similar to those used in museums. They will need to be airtight and provide adequate climate control. They need to reduce both the amount of humidity and light damage to your collection. Clear acrylic is often used to provide extra strength and they are impact resistant. However, such sophisticated display cases do not come cheap. Some can cost thousands of dollars.
Before making a purchase, you need to prepare the room. The room should be kept at a constant temperature and be well ventilated. Open doors and windows can bring in pollutants and contaminants. You will need to frequently check the room's temperature and humidity levels. Unfiltered light can cause discoloration, drying, and cracking of the memorabilia. Use UV screening filters over fluorescent lights and always keep the lighting low. Also place UV filtering film over windows. Whenever possible, keep the lights off. White gloves should be worn when touching old and fragile objects to prevent dust.
Glass showcases are quite an investment but completely necessary for those who have precious items they need to preserve. With the right showcase and some gingerly care, your memorabilia can last more than a lifetime.
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