Friday, July 27, 2018

Preserving and Labeling Fabric Heirlooms

Some of our family heirlooms and, by extension, genealogical treasures come in the form of textiles. Clothing, quilts, embroidery, tatting, needlework, samplers, and other items are treasures to be passed from generation to generation. It is important to preserve these items for posterity. Wrap them in acid-free tissue paper and store them in acid-free, archival safe boxes. Never store them in ordinary dry cleaner's bags as these can give off harmful gases that can discolor and damage the fabric. (Some dry cleaners provide special archival storage materials.)  

To label these and other items related to your family history, use acid-free paper tags and archival pencils or pens made for the purpose.  Write on the tag and sew it to the fabric item.  Never use pins as these can rust.

Our dear friend Denise May Levenick wrote an excellent book on the subject of preservation. How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records (Family Tree Books, 2012). It provides expert advice for caring for all types of materials that we, as family archivists, need to know.

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