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Friday, August 20, 2010

Protective Storage of Native American Dolls and Artifacts from Anne C.

Q. Do you have any advice for what products I should buy to preserve my collection?  I have a  large collection of handmade dolls and other Native Alaskan items purchased over the last 20 years when I lived in Alaska.  Most are made of or dressed in leathers, furs, feathers and other "natural" materials.  When I lived in Alaska I displayed them in a glass case that did fine.  It wasn't airtight, but the humidity up there is very low.  Now I live in Florida.  The collection is beginning to look a little "ratty" and today (horrors) I found a live bug in the case.  I'm sure he was loving all the fur and stuff in there.  My new case is not airtight - it's more of a wooden and glass furniture piece with glass shelving. What can I do so that I can keep my collection on display but not lose it to the critters?

A.There are a few places on the site where you can get information - and then, of course I am happy to answer any specific questions.

Guidelines for good conditions are here:

Florida is notorious for bugs.  Our Simply Scentsational Sweater Blend is a combination of just about every herb and spice known to repel insects.  The price is the same as for our Pure Lavender Sachet.  If you want to try it just order Lavender and let me know in the closing dialog box that you want to sub - it's not separate on the site yet.

Our tissue is safe for all materials.  It's acid and lignin-free but not buffered.  Buffering agents can react adversely with natural materials, disrupting their naturally protective acid mantle.  It can also cause colors to shift.

Sounds like a wonderful collection.  Be especially sure to use UV filtered lighting and keep away from bright ambient light and sunlight!

Please let me know if I can be of further help.
and follow-up...
Q.Thanks so much, Debra.  I have just put in an order for the sweater blend.  I will use it in both of my doll collection cabinets.  I also ordered the desiccant packs - hopefully they will help keep the humidity stable. I'm sure I will be back with more questions! 

A. Questions are wonderful, Anne:

Don't hesitate as they arise!

We anticipate getting this out for you today.

Take it easy at first with the desiccant.  The sachets of SSSB will act as a bit of a buffer in that regard - just due their bulk.

You do not ever want to go too dry with organic materials.  Aim for eliminating the growth of any mold or mildew.  Your collections sounds quite precious, so I recommend purchasing a small hygrometer that you can put in the case.  Organic material collections can tolerate up to 60% relative humidity without danger of molds.