Whaley House Museum - 624 East Kearsley Street - Flint, Michigan

Intern takes on the cataloging

In Uncategorized on 2014/02/26 at 5:01 pm

Hello All,

It has been a few since you heard from me last. The website is up and running. Launching the website was a lot harder than I expected. For some reason the pictures kept overlapping with the text. Every time I would move them, they would move back. So, if you have not checked it out yet please do! If you have any feedback please feel free to let us know.

Since we live in an era where we all have mini-computers in our pockets 24/7, I feel that creating this website was a very good learning experience. I feel that as a person in the work force in the 21st Century, I need to keep up with the ever-changing technology around me and that businesses, as well, need to keep up with the modern times.

Sam and I have begun cataloging linens. I am really excited to be starting this project. Not only because I’m updating the database, but because I am able to work closely with the historical artifacts. Linens are an extremely delicate historical artifact, which may or may not surprise you. Before you start to go through a collection we need to check and make sure that all the surfaces around are clear of dust and anything else that could potentially damage, stain, or tear the fabric. You should NEVER eat, smoke or drink while handling the fabric.

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There are many factors that anyone who handles historical fabric must consider to prevent damage to the artifact. The first is that, one must wear clean white cotton gloves, not only with fabric but with any historical object, whether it is a potato masher or a wooden hi-chair. The gloves provide a barrier between the dirt and oil that we have on our hands which can stain the artifact. The second thing to keep in mind is that the fabric might not be able to support its own weight. You should try to support the fabric from beneath with paper or a sheet of soft clean cotton that won’t damage the object.

The third thing to remember is while documenting the condition or writing up reports you should only use pencil, other writing utensils can bleed and stain the object. Lastly, when leaving accession numbers or notes on the artifact you should not use paper clips, binder clips or post it notes. The metal can leave behind rust and the post-it notes can leave behind a sticky resin.

When storing historical collections you also need to take into account the light, temperature, and humidity. Low humidity can cause the object to dry out, shrink and warp. High humidity can cause the object to swell, transfer colors from one object to the next, and allow mold to grow. The recommended temperature should be 67 degrees F, and 47% humidity. Light is also a major cause of damage to linens. High levels of light exposure can lead to fading, discoloration and embrittlement due to the heating caused by the light. UV light is the most damaging light to an object. When displaying artifacts they should be in a dim area free from any bright light source.

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