Tales in Archive Stock Taking Part 2

How NOT to store your collections!

Following on from Tales in Archive Stock Taking Part 1, I thought I would counterpoint the beauty of the organised strong room with some horror stories of bad storage that would make any archivist wince.

While going through our Building Studies Collection we discovered many stationery pests in the form of rusty paper-clips and degrading elastic bands that demonstrate the importance of preservation while illustrating the damage that can be done from seemingly benign household items.

The next nuisance to come out of the average stationery cupboard is pressure/sticky tape.

Here you can see how degraded sticky tape has become brittle and fragmented taking a layer of the document with it (the little white bits on the tape).

By far the most shocking effect of a lack of preservation and re-packaging came during a spate of de-framing. While a picture frame may appear to be a good way of storing a picture, photograph, or document – it is behind glass and cannot easily become dusty or torn – they do bring their own hazards:

As well as the risk of photographs becoming stuck to the glass the acidity of the backing board here has started to draw out the ink so much from this framed notice board it has left a legible imprint.

I can thankfully report a happy ending for all our items as many de-framed photographs and pictures have been transferred to Secol sleeves

and rolled and oversized items, where possible, have been stored flat in bespoke folders.

Ahhh, what a relief!

For our final instalment keep a look out for Tales in Archive Stock Taking Part 3: Buried Treasure!




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