Protect Your Family Heirlooms
Tips for Preserving Antique Fabrics and Family Photos
Every home has those few precious treasures from yesteryear that require just a little extra TLC to ensure they stick around for many generations to come. Learn how to protect your family heirlooms with these insightful tips and tricks. Old photographs, delicate fabrics and charming antiques will all benefit from your extra care.
Storing Antique Fabrics
Preserve your heirlooms for the next generation with these helpful hints:
- Textiles, like vintage tablecloths and quilts, should be as clean as possible when they’re stored.
- Storage space should not experience extreme temperature changes, so steer clear of basements and attics.
- It’s best to store textiles flat, but if that’s not possible then make sure their folds are soft, and that they’re stored on top of heavier items, not underneath them.
- White cotton sheets or pillowcases are the best wrapping materials. Most wrapping and tissue paper is acidic and harmful to fabric.
Caring For Your Family Photographs
It’s easy to forget how truly delicate your photographs are. But remember, cherished family photographs need as much care as any other heirloom. Here are a few need-to-know tips on preserving these important memories.
- The biggest threat to photographs in the home is direct sunlight. In order to reduce overexposure, frame your photographs with glass or Plexiglass that has a layer of UV protection.
- When it comes to displaying the, select walls or tabletops that are out of direct sunlight. Once or twice a year, rotate displays, varying the amount of light that each photograph is exposed to.
- Another source of damage comes from the actual albums. Albums from the 1960’s through the 1980’s used paper, plastic and adhesive that were highly acidic. Chemicals from the albums’ materials will seep into the photographs causing discoloration and brittleness. Photo albums with rag paper pages and photo corners are actually the most archivally sound.
- Photographs you choose not to frame or place in an album should be stored flat in sturdy archival boxes. For extra protection, layer acid-free tissue or museum-quality mat board between the images.
- Steer clear of attics of basements when storing photograph-filled boxes. The temperature and humidity changes can cause serious damage. Closets or cabinets located on the main floor of your house are a good place to store albums and photo boxes.