C2CC Storage and Handling of Textiles

C2CC Storage and Handling of Textiles


OK, go ahead. Hello, this is Kristen Laise
from Heritage Preservation. We’re going to just wait a few
more minutes for some folks to join us. You’re welcome to say
hello in the chat box, or if you’ve never
participated in a webinars, and wanted to practice typing
a question in the chat box, you’re welcome to do that. It should be on the left-hand
side of your screen. And today, we’ll be
talking about the care of textile collection,
specifically textile handling and storage. And while we’re just waiting
for a few more to join us, let me go ahead and
put up a quick poll, just so our speaker
today can [AUDIO OUT] type of collections that you
have related to textiles. Putting up that in a second. And you should see it
on your screen now. Feel free to click all the
[AUDIO OUT] to your situation. Thank you for these answers. Looks like we’ve got a
little bit of everything– lots of costumes or clothing,
which is pretty typical, lots of linens and flags. There’s a smaller
quantity of quilts than I would have thought. I think so too, yeah. And I would have
thought there would have been more quilts and less
lace, so this is interesting. Well, hopefully, we’ll
have some more people joining as we get started. It’s a lunch hour for the East
Coast and for the Midwest, so maybe people will be
checking in in a few minutes. So I will go ahead
and clear the poll. But if we want, if
we get more people and want to ask more at
the end of the session, we can do that, too. Again, my name is
Kristen Laise, and I’m from Heritage Preservation. Heritage Preservation is
moderating the Connecting to Collections Online
Community in cooperation with the American Association
for State and Local History, and with funding from the
Institute of Museum and Library Services. We’re grateful to the
help of LearningTimes, who have helped us produce
the site, and helps us produce all these webinars. And we’re just glad to have
a forum such as the Online Community to help small
museums, libraries, archives, and historical societies quickly
locate reliable preservation resources and information,
and have a chance to talk with experts
like we have today. In developing the
Online Community, we have pulled all
of the resources that are on the Connecting to
Collections online bookshelf. You’ll find it under
the topic [AUDIO OUT] haven’t had a chance to browse
the Topics section of the site, do that. And you’ll see the various
different categories we have. And clicking on
them will not only connect you with the
resources on the bookshelf, but also with archived topics
from this site, past conference presentations, and past
webinars that we’ve done. So hopefully, as
we continue this, we’ll be building this resource. And it will be a great
resource for you. And then as you know,
every couple of weeks, we change our Featured
Resource on the home page. And currently, we’re featuring
the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Conservation Institute,
otherwise known as MCI. And they have a
great website called Taking Care, which takes some
of their expert information, and really puts it
in layman’s terms so that people at all
levels of the museum field can access it, and get
some good information. The Museum
Conservation institute is an excellent
resource that I’m not sure many people outside of
Washington or museum field or conservation field
are really aware of. Their purpose is to offer
specialized technical research, and [AUDIO OUT] for the
Smithsonian Collections, but they do state-of-the-art
research that really benefits how conservation is
conducted across the country. And they publish this
on [AUDIO OUT] site, share it with colleagues
at conferences. But as I [AUDIO OUT],
they’ve taken some of that excellent
research, and put it into some very
approachable language. And you can find that in
this Taking Care site. It covers information on
furniture, wooden artifacts, objects, paintings, paper-based
artifacts, and textiles, as well as some general
conservation topics. And some of the articles
even translated into Spanish. So if that’s applicable
to your institution, either that you have staff
members that speak Spanish as a first language, or
if you are doing outreach to Spanish-speaking
population, it’s a great way to share
conservation information with them. Today, we are
grateful that we’re being joined by Mary Ballard. She’s the Senior
Textile Conservator at MCI at the Smithsonian. And she has worked
there since 1984, and is a Fellow in the American
Institute for Conservation and the International
Institute for Conservation. So in the conservation
world, she’s definitely considered an expert. So thank you, Mary,
for joining us today. Oh, you’re very welcome. I’m delighted to be here. Great, so again, if
you have a question, you can type it in the chat
box to the left of the screen. And I’m going to just start off
with some questions I prepared for Mary. Mary, you had just provided us
with a list of all the kinds of textiles, and I just can’t
think of an institution that doesn’t have some. And certainly, we
saw the variety that people had when I
asked my poll question. But I just wondered if you
could tell us some more about the importance of
environment in the storage and housing of textiles,
particularly how climate, and where an institution
might be located, affects textile storage. There are many factors
that affect textiles. Most textiles are already
acclimated to the place that– if the textile is
coming from a local source, it will already be
acclimated to the climate. And keeping it consistent with
that climate is very helpful. The Smithsonian
deals with objects from all over the country. And we have affiliate
museums around the country. So we take a very broad view. The slides that’s on the screen
now is a slide of light level. And it turns out that light is
an environmental factor that’s extremely important, not
so much for the storage, but for the display. And this is a chart of the
mean daily solar radiation. And Mr. Langleys, or
[INAUDIBLE] was actually Secretary Langley
of the Smithsonian at the turn of the century. And he studied radiant energy. And the total radiant energy
that falls on the United States is very different from
one area to another. So the kinds of
rule that you would have in Maine for putting
things out on display, perhaps near a window,
would be different where the light is much dimmer
than it would be down in Texas, or in Arizona, or Florida. You can see that down
towards southern Florida, the sunlight on an annual
basis would be very strong. And you would not
want to have anything near the front door, or
windows, or skylights, or anything like that. So that’s one example. There’s another slide that
talks about the geography. And there, you’ll see that
from the viewpoint of the USDA, the kinds of plants
that are grown in one area of the
country is very different from another
area of the country. And I like this
slide particularly, because it reminds us that
the kinds of storage that they would use in Boston, or in
Minnesota, or in New York might not be the kind
of storage system that would be appropriate in
other areas of the country, like California, or
Nevada, or Louisiana. We live in a very
diverse country. And we probably are
sophisticated enough now in our museums to accommodate
the different types of climate that we live in. So mainly when you’re talking
about the variety of climate, you’re talking about different
temperatures, but also different relative humidity
rates in different parts of the country. Yes, yes. And there is a
reverse relationship between temperature
and humidity. In terms of relative
humidity, a warmer climate can hold much more moisture. A warmer temperature can
hold much more moisture than a colder temperature. So we compensate for that by
using lots of acid-free tissue paper, and lots of paper-based
insulation in cold climates. Because the paper,
or the cellulose of paper and the
cardboard overcompensate for the dryness of the climate. And I actually have a slide. We have a picture that comes
up about northern climate, northern environment and
southern environment. I think I have it here. Hold on a second. Sorry, this is taking
a minute to scroll. It turns out that even
the architects build– Is that it? Yeah, oh, either slide will do. They build buildings differently
between northern climates and southern climates. Here, this would be
for a northern climate where, when you’re outside
and it’s snowing, for example, they say it’s 100% humidity
because it’s snowing. But the temperature
is so cold, once you start heating that up,
the relative humidity gets smaller and smaller. So by the time it gets to
be 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s actually only
35% relative humidity. But if you start putting
things in a closet, and the closet
gets too cold, you can see if you humidified
that area because you’re trying to be consistent
with museum guidelines, you can end up with
the level of humidity that can begin to support
mold and mildew on books or other things. If it gets cold enough,
moisture will just sort of precipitate out. Right. You’ll have condensate. So the big threat, then, in
managing relative humidity when it comes to textiles
has do with the potential that mold or mildew could
grow on the material, correct? If you go to the
next, I think there is a following slide that’s
really sort of interesting, that has, after
that’s what happens. This one– you [AUDIO OUT]
that if you have a dry climate, if you’re in a very dry
area, the amount of moisture that the textile–
they call it moisture regain– that the fiber
will hold is very low. But as the relative
humidity picks up, so does the amount of moisture. And you can see that this
goes rayon, wool, and silk, and cotton would
be very helpful. There would be a nice
kind of fiber [AUDIO OUT] in a humid climate, in the sense
that it would pull the moisture off of you as you perspire. Whereas the nylon doesn’t pick
up any moisture whatsoever. However, there is a real
problem with relative humidity in textiles. You go to the next slide. Absorbs at one level, and
it desorbs at another. So once you get up
there, you actually end up with more moisture
as it comes back. And there’s also another aspect
of moisture that’s very tricky. If you can go to
the next slide, I hope I’m not losing
people in the background. It’s not only that it
absorbs really quickly. It desorbs extremely slowly. So for cotton, it can go
from that dry climate, say what you would have in the
Mojave Desert or something, to 65%. If you humidified it, it
would reach equilibrium in an hour and a half. But if you were in Louisiana,
and you got something wet, left to its own devices,
it would be 99 days before that textile went down
to 65% relative humidity. So if it was wet,
and then brought into an environment where
it was a steady relative– Where it was still damp. –humidity, it will still take
99 days for it to dry out. Which is why if you
have a wet towel, and you put it in a corner,
and you forget about it, you will end up smelling
it three months later. And it will have
mold all over it. Right, right. And you can see that the
Kevlar, the polypropylene, that doesn’t– the
polypropylene a little bit, but the silk actually
desorbs relatively quickly. And silk doesn’t
get mold and mildew. It’s very difficult, whereas
the wool, it’s relatively easy. Right, right. So I was going to ask–
mold is such an issue– what happens if, say, you go
into collection storage, and you open a box, and you
suspect mold and mildew, what are the first steps? Walk us through that scenario. Oh, first of all, it’s a
terrible thing to have happen. And it can be very
depressing to see. But first of all, you
have to take note, if you have any kind of
compromising condition– which may mean asthma. It could be diabetes. It could be something that
affects your immune system. The most important thing is
for you to just take a note, where are the boxes? What’s going on? Put the lid on, and leave. Because you are putting
yourself at great risk, not because it’s toxic, but
because if there’s mold, the sheer quantity of the mold
spores– if you can see it, the sheer quantity
of the mold spores can be something that will
affect your respiratory system, and could make you very sick. And that’s not normal
for normal people. I mean, if you’ve got
a medical condition, and you’re the one
who knows that. And so it’s up to you to
compensate for that by leaving. And those little dust
masks that people wear, that protects other
people from you. It doesn’t protect
you from– it’s not sealed around the edges. So it’s not sufficient to
keep you from getting sick. If you’ve got asthma or anything
else– could be HIV/AIDS, it could be diabetes,
whatever it is. You simply want
to leave the room. So if that’s not your
situation, or you’re able to get someone else
in that is able to– Then you want to
do– and I’ve had this happen– you want
to catalog very roughly how bad the situation is. You want to figure out
how large the objects are. And you want to remove the
objects from the damp area into a situation
where it’s much drier. I’ve had this happen, actually,
at a historical society. They called me in, and they
had about 1,000 objects that the pipe had
burst, six weeks before. And they hadn’t
gone down to check. That’s why you should
monitor your storage on a regular basis. Someone had turned on the
heating system in October. And they didn’t notice
it until November, that there was a problem. And what we ended
up having to do– it was a multiuse
kind of facility. And we took the objects all out. We took over a
basketball gymnasium, and we spread
clean, white paper. And we laid the objects all
out as much as we could. And we then photographed the
entire collection, as is. And on the basis
of that, they were able to get–
because the accession number and the condition
was documented– they were able to get
100% of their requests from the insurance company. And then, in a
systematic way, that could be– once the
objects were dried, then they could be
treated individually. So in that case, if
you’re just trying to get it as dry as possible. And I’ve heard with
other wet materials, before mold has started, to
use fans, or interleaving. Is that something you
should do in this case, too? Fans, interleaving
blotting paper, but you’d have to
change it– everything. And as we brought it out,
everything had to be supported. In other words, you
don’t lift something up. This is one of the–
I have sort of three basic rules for handling
textiles in storage. And one of them is to always
keep the objects supported. I call it the closed
casket system, which is not a very polite
way of describing it. But you basically don’t want to
use your own arms as a support. Because it will just drape
over like Snoopy in a cartoon– the Snoopy dog pretending
he’s a vulture, or something like that. It will just drape. And you need to support it,
especially when it’s wet. Wool and silk become much
weaker when they’re wet, when they’re damp. And they can actually
stretch out of shape 100%. You can rip them apart, simply
by holding them up at one end, rather than supporting them. So you put it on sort
of a clean board? Whatever you can. If the only way you
can move it is by– you keep it in the wet
box, if necessary, or the wet lid, if necessary,
until you can move it to some place to dry out. Right, so Rebecca in
Alabama asks, if it’s wet, damp material, you don’t want
to spread the mold spores. So you’re saying,
move it to an area that has good air flow,
that’s drier like the gym, in your case. I once used the
exhibition space. That was in advance. They’d taken down one show,
and they had a couple of weeks before they were
going to put the other show up– it the temporary
exhibition swing space. And I took over that. Because the other thing is,
you want an area that’s secure. True, true. The other thing
you also want is– I think I may be getting
ahead of somebody talking about disaster
treatment– but you want as few [AUDIO OUT]
people to help, but you want a limited number. And if it’s a large collection,
my [AUDIO OUT] actually found that when there was
a flood in the monastery, that they were removing
objects, that some people came along and pretended they were
with them, removed the silver– some of the liturgical
silver from the treasury when they were trying to
empty out the textiles. Then what? I think they just ended up
wearing like a little safety vest or something like that. It’s just people
that– it’s like you have to be a staff member,
or something– whatever criteria you all
use, that would be appropriate for
the circumstances. Right, so then once the
materials are dried out, then are the mold spores
just vacuumed off? Sometimes they can
be, and sometimes– Or brushed off? Yes, and sometimes, it’s going
to be a situation where you only find it some time later. And I sent you some pictures. I’m working on a collection
now that was in a townhouse, and it got to be too much. And when we collected,
when we were transferring the collection to
the Smithsonian, we found a number of pieces
where there was mold. But the actual object
beneath had not deteriorated. It was modern. They were a collection of
hats, and they had been wet. They got mold and bugs. But we had killed the
bugs and the mold. It was a historic artifact,
so it had dried out. So yeah, I have it up here. This is this hat
that was crushed. I think you said it had
mold and dirt on it. I’m not seeing it. I don’t know if
other people are. Oh, OK. Anyone else? There, yes. Is that coming up now? OK. And the treatment for
that was simply vacuuming. That’s all that was. Yeah. But it wasn’t– how can I say–
it wasn’t the water damage. It wasn’t dripping wet. Right, the damage had been done
and it had already dried out. Yes. So then it was just
in a bad state. So at that point, then,
once you had vacuumed, I guess it was not active
mold when you found it. Yes. Even if you have an object
that’s dried out completely, and you vacuum off the
obvious signs of mold, do you need to worry
about contaminating the rest of your
collection at that point? The mold is in the air. The only thing I was
worried about with this was whether or not
it would compromise the person’s immune system. Right, right, OK. Most of the molds that
you would be exposed to would be ones that
the molds were in the air in the first place. And that’s how, when the
conditions were right, they were able to affix
themselves to the textile and get started. Right, so that’s
a very good point. Yeah, they live in the
environment all the time. And it’s just a
matter of keeping your conditions inhospitable
to them proliferating. Yeah. So Connie in Pennsylvania
had– thinking of Pennsylvania and its climate– has
to store their textile in a dry, hot third
floor storage area. They have linen, wool,
and cotton items. Are there concerns
that she should be aware of in keeping
it in that environment? Connie, are you able to say
what type of housing it has? Are they in boxes in tissue? The best is if you can– I
always like to put management up on the third
floor, where it’s too hot and dry for the
textile collections. I always would prefer to
have the humans there. It’s not a good position
for them to be in. You will get degradation. And one of my
colleagues here at MCI did a research project on
the kind of degradation that cotton would have
under different humidity and temperature conditions. And what he found was that
you have a degradation system. It degraded the textiles, but
it was more like degrading them. It’s as though you
were living in Egypt. And so it’s as though you’re
putting them in the tomb. It will be a kind of degradation
that will be bad for wood. It will be bad for the textiles,
and you’re accelerating the degradation of the objects. But you’re doing
it on a drier side than if you were storing
them down in the basement. Neither one is agreeable. But I don’t have an exact– I
can’t say it’s a factor of two, or a factor of three,
or something like that. So if you had to choose
too dry or too damp– I wouldn’t choose
either one of them. I would ask for a third option. OK. She said that some of them
are improper archival boxes, but not all. Would that be maybe– if
she would take some time to find a better
solution, at least putting them all in archival boxes
might be a good step? Yes, at least that might
provide some buffering. And insulating the
attic area, and actually ventilating the third
floor– if they could do that, it might be useful. And if she gets this to
be a nice enough space, then the curators or the
management will move in. Right, so the ventilating
rather than adding, maybe, humidification? Is that just too hard
to control, is adding– Yes, and it wouldn’t– you
really want to move the heat out. Actually, one of the
reasons that attics get hot is because there’s no place
for the hot air to go. Right, right. OK, we have a question
from Debby in Connecticut. And we just had a webinar
on test management and so Debbie, if you
weren’t on that one, or hadn’t had a chance to watch,
it is archived on our site. But she has a situation
in a historic house that has a textile collection
infested with clothes moths. I’m so sorry. [INTERPOSING VOICES] vacuuming
and freezing individual pieces isn’t really possible. No, you can’t do
names and tales, so I can do one or the other. So I will do the tale. And the tale is of an objects
conservator who is very proud, and said, oh, I don’t need
to have textile people. I just freeze my textile rugs. It was a specialized
kind of collection. And then I freeze
them for a month, and then I bring them out. And I don’t have to worry
about all your protocols, about keeping the
laboratories clean, and blah, blah, blah, because
that’s just the way I take care of my moth infestation. And she actually came up
to me six years later, called me on the
phone, and said, I now have to have a full-time
technician putting things into the freezer, taking
them out, allowing them to return to temperature
and humidity conditions, and then refreezing
the next group. And it’s this constant thing. And I said, did you
ever find the source of where the moths came from? And so they’ve been doing–
and she hung up on me, because she’d never done that. So that’s what you need to do. Find the source. So they’re using traps. The traps, they’re not
going to be interested. And unless you’re using what
they call pheromones, which are sexual attractants,
and the problem is, if you get that wrong, you
are attracting the moths to your site. So you really need
to have an analysis of the exact moth you
have, with an entomologist, [INTERPOSING VOICES] trap. You need to, actually, the
state university system, they have an Urban
Entomology Department. And they may be able to help
you in terms of revealing the severity of the situation. But if you already know
that they’re clothes moths, that’s pretty definitive. And the little sticky
traps aren’t going to help. You’re going to have to get
rid of the moth infestation, and then clean out the area. I did talk with one collector,
and he collected oriental rugs, and he had a moth infestation. And he traced it back to
a bamboo floor or ceiling with a subfloor. And these bugs can live on
dust bunnies, and the dust from the dogs, or whatever. Even though he kept
a very clean house, the dust had gone into
the cracks and crevices. And he had to take the
flooring out, and redo that, and recaulk, and then
put in new flooring in order to get rid of it. It sounds like Debbie was saying
that this is historic house museum, and the challenge– it
may not be sealed very tightly. And they’ve had other
issues with bats. Bats are a different problem. Then you’ve got a
whole [INAUDIBLE]. Actually, my church
has that, and we’re waiting for the lifecycle
to get to the point where the babies are
gone, or the bat families can be dislodged safely. And that’s done
by someone, again, who is licensed for
wildlife control. And that also, you
would be subject to– even if you thought
you could do it, it’s not a good idea, because
it could affect your health. Yeah. And the protocol on the
lifecycle is very different. So the person who
would do the insects wouldn’t necessarily
do the bats. It would be sort of unlikely. Debbie’s just making the
point that the issue is, the house isn’t tightly sealed. So it’s likely the source
of the moth issue is that. This is a very difficult
house to try to seal tightly. So in that case,
does a micro-climate help her situation? In that case, you’ve
got a couple of options. You want to not
have anything that’s wool on permanent exhibition. You want to isolate it, and
keep it out of circulation. Personally and
professionally, that’s one of the reasons people
recommend only three months of exhibition. A lot of people moving
down from northern areas think that they can have
their oriental rugs out for 12 months out of the year. And that’s not a
prudent thing to do. The insects are going to
be active in the spring, and in early summer. And you cannot clean your
antique carpets every year. But you can put them in
either an anoxic fumigation or a storage environment that
doesn’t allow for insects to grow and reproduce. So you would either store
them in paradichlorobenzene, or you would seal them
in– I don’t believe CO2 is as effective as Vikane. And I’m not necessarily a
fan of doing cold storage, because I know the insects
can produce their own ethylene glycol, which is antifreeze,
so that they can molt down, and they can also go
into diapause, which is like suspended animation. They’re quite ingenious. So people in historic houses,
they had very few wool objects. And they took care of
them very carefully. And that sort of
bare look is what you’re going to have
to probably achieve. And you also have to
remember that the visitors to the house– a good percentage
of them, I’d say at least 25% of them– are going to
have moths or carpet beetles at home. And in my laboratory here, I
simply keep the door closed. I have sticky mats down. And I don’t allow
a number of people. I restrict tours and
things like that. Because you can’t do
that in a historic house, you’re going to have
to do something else. And that’s going to be to
be vigilant, and be very careful about when you have
the objects out, and what kind of objects, what kind
of proximity you have. Would glass vitrine–
I mean, I think it’s important to
rotate exhibits, and not keep a textile on
exhibit for very long. But would even
[INTERPOSING VOICES] glass vitrine help
or not at all? No. They’ve actually
produced slides of these. The eggs are small enough–
the clothes moth is about the size of a 11
font O. And the clothes moths are the most–
how can I say– in an undistinguished,
unobtrusive– they’re only about
a half an inch long. You don’t really notice them. I mean, you have to
be very observant just to know you’ve got
an infestation. So it’s very discouraging. But it is possible to
control the situation. Right, well, some people have
put up at the MuseumPest.net site, which is a good resource. I think you want to be
very careful, though. Because not everybody
on the listing is actually a licensed
pest control person. And so there are problems
if you are a state, or city, or federally
funded institution, and you do want to deal with
licensed pesticide people. Right, right. But it’s a good place to
start to gather information. And eventually, probably need
to look into a licensed person. Mary I want to talk to you
about, also, the case study. I can talk about bugs. And excuse me, but
if she wants to, I am always happy to
talk about pest control. And if there is a
special problem, I don’t mean to take
everyone else’s time. So we can follow this
offline or something. OK, great, well, thank you. You had mentioned
another interesting case study about vinegar
syndrome on textiles. And maybe [AUDIO OUT] never
heard of that being an issue. [AUDIO OUT] last
webinar, which talked about film materials and
cellulose acetate film base being susceptible to it. But I hadn’t realized this
could be an issue with textiles. Do you want to talk
to us about that? Actually, this also speaks
to Connie’s question about third-floor storage. This collection from the
African-American History [AUDIO OUT] Black
Fashion Museum collection was stored in an
un-air-conditioned. It was put together
over a number of years, and it ended up being
stored on to near U Street in an
un-air-conditioned townhouse. And Washington, DC gets
very hot in the summer. And we packed all
these things up, trying to beat the heat that we
knew that was coming in June. We treated the collection. And when we started
getting it out, we realized some of the clothing
actually smelled like vinegar. And it turns out that
the cellulose acetate has a sort of
activation trigger, that if it gets
warm enough, it will sort of start to break down. And once that starts, it’s
going to be irreversible. And it can continue. So that would be it smells like
vinegar when you open a box. And tell us– My intern at the time, her
father had been a surgeon. And she opened up this box,
and she said, oh, my gosh, it smells just like
daddy’s film drawer. Oh, my. So because all of his
x-rays had, after 40 years, I guess, the drawer smelled. The breakdown of the
film was vinegar. Right, right, so what’s
the type of fabric that is most
[INTERPOSING VOICES] This is a cellulose acetate. And you may be familiar. Nowadays, it’s used almost
exclusively as a lining fabric. So it sort of looks like silk. It feels silky. And you can see this
wedding dress from the back with the train is very shiny. And there were some lovely
dresses from the ’30s and ’40s that it was inexpensive
substitute for silk. And over on the slide
that says “Maybe used as a lining for clothing,”
this is from my husband gave me some pearls. And they were in this
little presentation box. And I realized that
it wasn’t silk. And it was a cellulose. It was the same
cellulose acetate. And if you leave pearls
in cellulose acetate, vinegar will dissolve pearls. So you it’s a case
where the– I don’t think that the
jeweler was trying to destroy his product so we
would have to buy more of them in the future. But you wouldn’t want to leave
your grandmother’s pearls, or a collection with
jewelry and pearls, in its presentation case,
if the case actually is– it could dissolve the object. So in the cases of this vinegar
syndrome, it’s not reversible. So then the best thing
to do is to make sure– If you can store it
in a cool, dry area, that would be the best. And there are absorbent charcoal
pads that can be purchased. It’s kind of like a charcoal
filter, and filter paper. So it’s laminated. And you can purchase it. And it’s extremely expensive. So prevention is
really the key on this, and maybe going through
your collection, and getting a sense
if you have any of this material
in your collection, and prioritizing better
storage at the get-go for it. Yes, and one of the
other concerns– and now, I always forget
this– the cellulose triacetate that dissolves in acetone,
or the cellulose acetate– normal cellulose acetate– can
be dissolved with nail polish remover. The triacetate is a
little bit more stable. And it’s more stable
to heat, and takes– there is a New York Times
picture in last week’s Sunday paper of “Porgy and Bess.” And the knife
pleats of the skirt, pretty much, I think
what the actress was wearing was cellulose
triacetate fabric. OK, well, we just have
a few more minutes. So if anyone wants to type
in any lingering questions that you had for Mary,
that would be great. One thing I see a lot
on listservs, Mary, is people from small
museums are looking to see what they
can do on their own without involving a conservator. And it’ll go around
about washing textiles. I know there’s a
flurry of conversation around this subject, and what
detergent you should use, or what you should not do. I know it’s a huge
topic, but are there some sort of general
guidelines that you have? I mean, should it just never
be attempted whatsoever? Do you think people just get a
little zealous when they think something looks dirty,
or just a little yellowed around the edges, and
they shouldn’t be so concerned about it being pristine? Do you have any advice
in that direction? A lot of people
are– their eye has become accustomed to
the white of synthetics, and the white of
optical brighteners that are in all our
clothing now, but was not a part of 18th
and 19th century life. And I would be concerned
that you would try and whiten something– for example,
to try and whiten lace. If you’re not careful, if you
use a commercial detergent, you can put optical
whiteners in it. And some laces, the
all-time most horrible story about cleaning
lace by mistake is from– they used
to sell them based on the weight of the laces. And somebody thought this
lace looked very gray. And so they were
going to bleach it. And the oxidizing bleach
caused the lead which had been used– they
had used initially lead white as a powder to
make the lace weigh more, so they got more money. But over time, it had
turned the lace gray. And so by trying
to bleach it, they had turned the
lace bright orange. So there can be big
problems associated. And hopefully, it won’t
be quite that big. But you can permanently change
the character of the object, and it just changes the surface
characteristics, as well as the actual hue,
the actual color. Right, what about so-called
archival cleaners, or things you might see in
archival [INAUDIBLE]? Is Orvus one? Orvus is sodium
lauryl sulfate, which is the basis of hair shampoo. And that’s a very good cleaner
for cotton for removing particulate matter. So if you’ve got
something that’s dusty that vacuuming
doesn’t remove, that may be a possibility. But by submerging the textile
in water, you swell the fiber. And fiber will not
sit back as the way it was when it came out and
was calendared or ironed. So you you can end up
with a different shape. Right, it sounds it’s a
very sticky road to go down. And you really should
consult a conservator. If you want to do
something, you might want to think just
in terms of spot cleaning, or cleaning
a small area rather than– if there’s it’s just
one problem in one area. Right, so that’s, I
guess, why vacuuming can be a useful tool for
surface [INTERPOSING VOICES]. And in terms of
pest control, one of the things that you should
be always doing is vacuuming. After you vacuum with a
nozzle, you always, always, always wash that nozzle. And that would be a time to
wash it in hair shampoo or Orvus at the end of the day. The clothes moth eggs
have a certain amount of gelatin on them. And you don’t want to spread. Vacuuming could actually
spread the infestation throughout a collection. Whereas what you
really want to do is vacuum each row,
for example, of a rug all the way down
through the pile. And then you also want to
take that little nozzle, and wash it thoroughly, and
dry it before you use it on anything else. Right. Well, I’m just going to put
it up on the screen here. And we do this every
seminar, but how to locate a textile
conservator in your area, and we are going to be doing our
next webinar on September 8th. We’re going to talk about
emergency preparedness. We are well into
hurricane season, and September and October
can be very active months. So feel free to
join us for this. We’re going to be talking about
working with first responders with Lori Foley, who’s on our
staff at Heritage Preservation. And she’ll be talking about
all of the initiatives Heritage Preservation
had done to reach out to the first
responder community, to educate them on the needs
of cultural institutions. So she’s got lots of great
firsthand experience and tips. I’ve put up in the chat
our evaluation link for today’s webinar. And Mary had a lot of
great PowerPoint slides. And we didn’t get to
talk about all of them. And she also had
some useful handouts. So we’ll go ahead and be posting
those on the Online Community, so that you can have these
resources at your fingertips. If you can cut and paste
that link to the evaluation in your browser,
that would be great. It’s not hyperlinking, but
if you hang around the room, in a minute, we can try to
do it so that it hyperlinks. So again, my name
is Kristen Laise. And we hope that you are getting
good use out of the Connecting to Collections Online Community. Again, the evaluation
is the place where you can tell
us about topics you would like to see
discussed, or if there’s an expert we can
bring in to help you with some issues
you’ve been having. We’d be glad to do that for you. But again, thank you to Mary
Ballard for your expertise today. And thanks, everyone,
for joining us. Have a great afternoon. Bye-bye.

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