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#26 Jay V

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 04:28 PM

Thanks Leigh!!



#27 Thor996

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 04:55 PM

Leigh what about Photo albums? A lot of the old WW2 era ones had that black paper- how do you preserve the integrity of the collection without removing them from the original albums.



#28 Rakkasan187

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 06:24 AM

Leigh what about Photo albums? A lot of the old WW2 era ones had that black paper- how do you preserve the integrity of the collection without removing them from the original albums.

 

 

The best option is to unfortunately dissassemble the photo album, meaning you will want to remove the photos. Some of the photos may be glued to the pages and you will not be able to see if there was writing on the backs and you will still have the paper backing, but the front of the picture will be safe. Once the pictures are removed you can place them in mylar sleeves and then put them back into the album, not glued of course but they can remain in the same spot they were when they were originally placed in the album. You can then use acid free paper to place your pictures on and then if you wanted to you could attach the mylar sleeves to the acid free paper with double sided tape. The tape wont hurt the photo any more since you will have a barrier between the photo and the mylar sleeve and the acid free paper..

 

I would also translate or write out any of the inscription that may be on the back of the photo on a 3x5 or 4x6 card and place it with the photo (outside the mylar if the card stock is not acid free)...

 

Remember also that the pictures were taken and no one would have thought that 70 years later or 100 years later that people (like us collectors, conservators) would be interested in a bunch of old photos, so the scrap books and photo albums that were made did not take the conservator into thought or there would have been acid free pages..

 

In some cases where the use of the small photo corners were used then there will be some ease in removing the pictures. Since the corners had a glue back some of them may be stuck to the pictures in the corners, which is fine, you can cut them off with a pair of scissors but you will still be left with the corner piece on the edge of the picture which will be fine.

 

Pictures by themselves should be stored flat in mylar sleeves, and the best option if displaying them would be to scan them and store the originals and use the high resolution scans to be put on display. Most visitors don't get too picky about seeing a scan of an original picture, they are there to see the image and don't really mind if the image is a scan or an original. (Again the majority of folks do not take preservation and conservation to the levels that we do in order to preserve the photos or other documents..

 

Hope this helps a little. Again this is just some of the preservation that we do in our location due to our very high temps and dry humidity..

 

Leigh



#29 Thor996

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 06:32 AM

Thanks Leigh, I truly appreciate your response. dave



#30 Rakkasan187

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 10:12 AM

Thanks Leigh, I truly appreciate your response. dave

No problem Dave,,

 

If you or any other member should think of anything else please feel free to post here or send me a PM..

 

Leigh



#31 doinworkinvans

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 10:22 AM

Well, now I have a question!

 

I see you keep mentioning storage boxes for uniforms, but what about just displaying them?

 

isnt that what we generally like to do as collectors?

 

Does sitting out on display in a room actually mess them up?!



#32 Cobra 6 Actual

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Posted 08 September 2015 - 04:29 AM

Leigh, thank you very much for this valuable information!

Edited by Cobra 6 Actual, 08 September 2015 - 04:30 AM.


#33 skautdog

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Posted 08 September 2015 - 05:09 AM

Leigh,

Thanks for sharing your expertise.

There is so much information available, it's nice to have your experienced insight.

Ken



#34 Rakkasan187

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Posted 08 September 2015 - 08:42 AM

Well, now I have a question!

 

I see you keep mentioning storage boxes for uniforms, but what about just displaying them?

 

isnt that what we generally like to do as collectors?

 

Does sitting out on display in a room actually mess them up?!

 

I am sorry I have not kept up with the topic, I will try to answer these questions in a quicker manner from now on...

 

 

Another great question..

 

The short answer is yes and no.. So what does that mean? Lighting has always been the issue with fading of uniforms, direct sunlight and UV will destory artifacts that are in direct light over time.  Flourescent light also is a killer over time. There are UV filters that can be put over lights, it is a thin film like acetate that goes directly over the lights and there are different shades to this similar to window tinting. The short answer with lighting is to get artifacts away from flourescent lighting of all types. LED soft bulbs are better for artifacts. 

 

We have an Army wide textile policy that any uniform earlier than the Spanish American War is to be rotated from exhibits every 6 months, placed back into storage and another uniform to be placed on exhibit. This obviously poses the question, well what if I only have one uniform from the Civil War? Again the short answer for this is to have a reproduction uniform on display for a period of time so the original can "rest" so to speak.

 

Uniforms of the later conflicts, IE WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam etc will face the same fate in the coming years. Preservation of these uniforms will have to meet the same criteria with lighting but museums are now getting away from flourescent lighting and are going with LED and more environmentally sound lighting and equipoment. The advantages we have for the later conflicts is that many many more of these uniforms exist. Look at the millions of uniforms produced for WW2 alone, a "never ending" supply so to speak, so we can have these unifroms out on display for longer periods of time, but keep in mind the basic conservation techniques still exist.. Don't have the uniform sitting on a table in front of a window that gets 7 hours of sunlight directly beaming in on the room all day every day, that will obviously fade the uniform, but window tinting of a dark shade on the window can help displace the UV rays and will not make the room dark like a cave..

 

From a conservationist point of view, we have an obligation to preserve one of a kind uniforms that have been given/donated to the NCO museum, but in the same respect we also have the obligation to display said uniforms for the public to see. We have an unwritten policy at the NCO Heritage and Education Center that this facility belongs to the public and they can view our artifcats not on display but in storage at any time. We just need advance notice and we will open our cabinets and drawers so the public can see what we have in the collection..

 

I hope this answers your question.. I will say as a private collector that I too like to display uniforms, and am aware of the risks and have taken the preventive measures to ensure when possible the artifacts are protected from the light, dust and other environmental concerns.. 

 

I look forward to questions from forum members and I hope to be able to pass on some knowledge to fellow collectors..

 

Happy Collecting!!

 

Leigh

 

  



#35 doinworkinvans

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Posted 08 September 2015 - 09:30 AM

Thanks Leigh this helps a ton.  Lots of great info in this thread!



#36 stealthytyler

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 01:27 PM

From a museum employee's  point of view, Uniforms should be stored flat and if possible in archival boxes. They are expensive but this is a preferred method of storing. If you have to hang them, I would not recommend garbage bags or plastic. The plastic will give off gases when they break down and could damage your uniforms. If they have to be hung, use plastic hangars and wrap muslin cloth around them. This will create a barrier between the plastic and the uniform. Also try to take tissue paper and fill in the shoulder area and the sleeves. This will keep the uniform from forming those hanger bumps often seen as well as separating the sleeves of the uniform so they do not develop long term creases.

 

Storage of pistol belts and other equipment can be in the footlocker, but should be lined with acid free paper and the belts laid flat.

 

Plastic storage bins are alright, and a cheaper route rather than the archival boxes, but again it is not recommended to fold them and place them on top of each other as the weight over the years will cause creasing and wear.

 

Overseas caps are rather easy to store. You can store them in a shoe box, lined with archival acid free paper, and tissue paper between each hat, these can be stacked and stored with no problem.

 

Separate any leather items from metal and do not store them together. Brass and leather for example tend to have a chemical reaction after a long period of time and the outcome is a greenish substance called verdigris.  This is caused by the leather dye's and the leather treating chemicals mixing with the metal. Sam Browne belts with lots of leather and brass buckles suffer from this chemical reaction extensively. Separate them and store them away from each other.

 

Metal and cloth insignia can be store in acid free zip lock baggies , just take a one hole punch and punch a hole in the baggie so the item can "breathe"..

 

Just some quick ideas that we use daily in the museum.

 

 

Leigh 

 

How would you display and store a WWII M1 Helmet? Can the webbing support in the liner be damaged from sitting on a mannequin head for a long period of time (months/years)? Also, how would you store it? Sitting on the crown of the helmet or on the rim? In an acid free bag? Thank you so much for the tips!


Edited by stealthytyler, 20 September 2015 - 01:27 PM.


#37 Rakkasan187

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 09:40 AM

 

How would you display and store a WWII M1 Helmet? Can the webbing support in the liner be damaged from sitting on a mannequin head for a long period of time (months/years)? Also, how would you store it? Sitting on the crown of the helmet or on the rim? In an acid free bag? Thank you so much for the tips!

 

 

Good question:

 

We use cloth form heads with muslin lined cloth that sits on the inside of the liner and helmet. The liner and sweatband is padded with acid free tissue paper, and acid free foam as well as the inside of the helmet, hat, ect. Styrafoam heads give off gases which could compromise the webbing and liner over a period of time. If using a styrafoam head, a barrier such as muslin cloth should be placed between the styrafoam and the headgear. Nylon stockings also provide a barrier from direct contact with the styrafoam. Acid free tissue paper will discolor after a period of time which indicates it is absorbing the moisture, and chemicals and should be replaced with clean paper. There are many environmental factors to consider, moisture, light, no or low humidity, smokers, pets, all of these have to be taken into consierdation when displaying an artifact in the open. We also rotate our headgear on display every 6 months or sooner based on policies and regulations. We have had at times reproduction headgear on display because we only one original artifact and we need that artifact to go back into darkness and rest so to speak for several months and then we will put it back out on display after we have carefully examined, cleaned and preserved the artifact. 

 

Hope this helps..

 

Leigh



#38 stealthytyler

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 10:56 AM

 

 

Good question:

 

We use cloth form heads with muslin lined cloth that sits on the inside of the liner and helmet. The liner and sweatband is padded with acid free tissue paper, and acid free foam as well as the inside of the helmet, hat, ect. Styrafoam heads give off gases which could compromise the webbing and liner over a period of time. If using a styrafoam head, a barrier such as muslin cloth should be placed between the styrafoam and the headgear. Nylon stockings also provide a barrier from direct contact with the styrafoam. Acid free tissue paper will discolor after a period of time which indicates it is absorbing the moisture, and chemicals and should be replaced with clean paper. There are many environmental factors to consider, moisture, light, no or low humidity, smokers, pets, all of these have to be taken into consierdation when displaying an artifact in the open. We also rotate our headgear on display every 6 months or sooner based on policies and regulations. We have had at times reproduction headgear on display because we only one original artifact and we need that artifact to go back into darkness and rest so to speak for several months and then we will put it back out on display after we have carefully examined, cleaned and preserved the artifact. 

 

Hope this helps..

 

Leigh

 

WOW , so much that goes in to preservation! thank you so much for the advice 



#39 Cobra 6 Actual

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 02:14 PM

 
Hope this helps..
 
Leigh


Sure helped me, Leigh. Thank you! I read somewhere about using acetone as a 'bath' for metal badges. Several questions come to mind: Is that still being done? What is the purpose for such a 'bath'? Is it only done with certain types of metal ... Chrome or brass, etc? Are there any associated risks? What about metal badges that also have enamel -- such as many DI's?

I appreciate any info you can provide.

Thanks,
Joe

Edited by Cobra 6 Actual, 21 September 2015 - 02:14 PM.


#40 Rakkasan187

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 04:21 PM

Joe,

 

I am going to consult with some other conservators, reference your questions. This is an area that I am not well versed in and I would rather give you good info from someone who works with medals..

 

Will get back with you and respond tomorrow.

 

Leigh



#41 Cobra 6 Actual

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 04:30 PM

Thanks very much, Leigh. Again, it's just something I read about, but before I would use acetone on a badge I'd need to know a heckofa lot more.

Regards,
Joe

Edited by Cobra 6 Actual, 21 September 2015 - 04:30 PM.


#42 Rakkasan187

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 04:44 PM

Joe,

 

I was able to speak to some folks, reference your question about the use of acetone. Short answer, No. No chemicals.

 

This opinion is coming from a conservator not a collector who may have different reasons to justify why or why not they clean medals. The patina on a medal should remain untouched but some will tell you if they want to bring the medals back to life they will use silver polish or brasso to bring out the details of the medal. Once a silver polish or cleaner is applied it should be wiped off with a cotton cloth and buffed to a high shine and then placed in storage. It should not be touched with hands due to oils and dirt that are in the hands. That will tarnish the medals again once cleaned.

 

If cleaning a medal that is dirty from dirt, grime oil, it is acceptable to use warm soapy water. The ribbon should be removed prior to any cleaning however if this is not an option, then care should be taken when handling the ribbon. A very soft bristle toothbrush can be used to carefully clean the medal. The softer the bristle the better just to knock off the dirt. You don't want to scrub too hard because you can cause microscopic scratches on the face of the medal. You can also use a wooden toothpick to pick out and dirt in the cracks and crevices. This method of cleaning will not destroy the patina of the medal. Ribbons can also be cleaned in warm soapy water then laid out flat and dried with a low heat hair dryer, not directly on the ribbon but in a sweeping motion back and forth.

 

Cleaning DI's with enamel can also be cleaned with the soapy water method and dried thoroughly with a cotton cloth. Once cleaned and dried the DI's should not be touched with your hands as again the dirt and oils in your hands can tarnish the medals or DI's.

 

Hope this helps a little. It is not an area that I am well versed in and I will usually defer to the conservators who handle medals and medallions. We are fortunate that we do not have a lot of medals in our collection and the majority of the medals we have a current restrikes and are currently not on display. When and if we do receive any medal acquisitions into the collection, we will confer with the medal conservator experts at the Center of Military History for proper care..

 

Leigh



#43 Cobra 6 Actual

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 04:23 AM

Leigh, thanks very much for that answer. It really clarifies things for me. I will definitely take your advice ... we're only caretakers of these pieces of history, so I don't what to leave anything in worse condition than when received.

Thanks, again!
Joe

#44 Rakkasan187

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 05:04 AM

Leigh, thanks very much for that answer. It really clarifies things for me. I will definitely take your advice ... we're only caretakers of these pieces of history, so I don't what to leave anything in worse condition than when received.

Thanks, again!
Joe

Anytime my friend...

 

Leigh



#45 crashdive

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 04:59 AM

Hi Leigh,

What about wool patches? I know in previous posts you have indicated that a plastic back with a single hole punch would work, but wouldn't this hole allow moths to get a the wool? Thanks for the help,

Andy



#46 Rakkasan187

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 08:33 AM

Andy,

 

Good question, and the best option for storage is the acid free baggie with a hole so the patch can breathe. You can also place a barrier of acid free paper as a backing to protect the patch. If there is a concern for moths then you would want to seperate/segregate/confine these patches/or new items from others in the collection, You can place them into an acid free archival box in the baggies and then in a seperate baggie you can place either moth balls or ceder wood chips, again with a small hole so the moth balls or wood chips can breathe and that will be the best deterrent. Constant inspection of our artifacts is done, as this is what we do in the museum anyway. It may be more of a task to constantly inspect and check personal collections but it is what has to be done under all the different types of environmental conditions we live in across the US and the world..

 

At the first sign of any type of moth or insect infestation or if you just want to be safe and want to do some conservation of your collection, seperate the items from the rest of the collection, for example all your wool patches... freeze them in the freezer for a period of 24 hours. Remove the item and thaw for 24 hours, then refreeze the item again for 24 more hours. This will confuse the larvae's hybernation cyle and will kill the remaining eggs that are not killed in the first freeze. You can freeze and thaw as many times as you want to ensure the larva or eggs have been killed..I would switch out the baggies used for the freeze and thaw with new storage baggies once the process is complete, just to give the added buffer. Baggies are not that expensive and you can usually get a few hundred for a couple of dollars. (Acid free baggies of course)..

 

Hope this helps..

 

Leigh


Edited by Rakkasan187, 06 October 2015 - 08:34 AM.


#47 Thor996

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 08:38 AM

Leigh, other than bringing items into your home that are infested already, what are the chances of moths invading and eating the average new englander's collection? Besides vacuuming and cleaning the storage area/war room what is the best preventative? 



#48 crashdive

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 08:45 AM

Many thanks for the reply Leigh and for the entire topic is really very informative!



#49 Rakkasan187

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 08:49 AM

Leigh, other than bringing items into your home that are infested already, what are the chances of moths invading and eating the average new englander's collection? Besides vacuuming and cleaning the storage area/war room what is the best preventative? 

Look for some of the tell tale signs that the moths/other insects may be extra heavy in the season. At night time look at porch lights to see if there are a very large number of moths that are around the lights, if there are quite a few then you may want to put some sticky tape next to the light to rid some of the moths. Cleaning the war room and checking the uniforms/items in the collection and constant observation/conservation of the collection is the best prevantative option..

 

I recall growing up in New Hampshire and the outbreak of Gypsy Moths and the catepillers that followed. Whole trees were consumed and large webs and caccoons could be seen, then the thousands of migrating catepillers crossing the roads to get to other trees.. Now that was an outbreak.. I remember watching my dad in the back yard with the torch buring the nests out.....

 

Even in the museum environemnt that we have here in Texas, we are not free from pests. We just had vector control spray the building a few weeks ago. But every once in a while we will see a dead roach, so we take extra care and precaution and check items on a daily and weekly basis..

 

Leigh


Edited by Rakkasan187, 06 October 2015 - 08:51 AM.


#50 Rakkasan187

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 08:50 AM

Many thanks for the reply Leigh and for the entire topic is really very informative!

Andy,,
 

Thank you..

 

It is a pleasure to help provide informaiton to fellow collectors..

 

I have been fortunate to have been educated by some great mentors and as I learn more information I am more than happy to share with all..

 

Leigh




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