Colllections Care

Connecting to Collections Care – Protection from Hazardous Materials

The significance of collections care is almost critical as preservation of cultural property is among the most effective means of protecting and conserving antiques and precious collections. This is why connecting to collection care is critical. Fortunately, this domain sees a growing number of collections care professionals and conservators with strong museology backgrounds, interests, and responsibilities who have worked on several projects that eventually support the ethical practice of collections care.

What is Connecting to Collections Care?

Among the major pillars of museology and collection management and perseveration of collection, collection care deems the most crucial as it involves caring for the collection through careful strategies and values. Effective care of collections includes-

  • Strategic Mitigation

Generally, according to regular norms like storage in a dry, cool, dark place is followed but not entirely relied upon. Regardless of how sensible it sounds; the plan is to systematically mitigate the conceivable risks concerning the costs and usefulness of collections that get tarnished over time.

  • Systematic Values

The purpose of following these strategic values is to solely protect its solid-state but also other values that contribute to the entire purpose of preserving a collection.

  • Consider all risks

The idea is to mitigate all risks and not focus on the received wisdom of concentrating on few tell-tale risks. Everything should be deemed suspicious and all risks should be considered a priority as anything can inadvertently cause harm to the collection. It begins with prioritizing physical risks such as wear and tear, pests, breakage, theft, flood fire, misplacement, and distortion. Following with damage-inducing agents such as light, temperature, relative humidity, and contaminants, etc.

The entire team of professional collectors, conservators, curators, facility managers, archivists, architects, designers, collection managers, exhibit designers, maintenance staff, and security staff give a new meaning to connecting to collections care through effective preservation.

According to AIC Health and Safety Network, Unlike industrial workers who are likely to encounter higher doses of potentially hazardous materials resulting in acute exposure, museum workers are more likely to be exposed to low-level doses of heavy metals [and other toxins] over an extended period, resulting in chronic health problems.

This is why safety against hazardous materials for museum works is no less than combat. Museum workers are constantly around these toxic materials for a long period so it becomes all the more critical that such objects are encountered and how the team can limit the exposure to such hazards.

Hazardous Materials to Collection Care

As crucial preservation is to the collections, hazardous materials and risks are not highlighted as evidently as they should. Therefore, it is important to how to approach it and what measures should be taken to protect the actions taken towards preservation.

Everyday routine has the team engaged in daily museum tasks and adds to the exposure to hazardous materials. It includes tasks such as exhibition preparation, Object photography, Complying with strategic measures, and storage reorganizations. Each of these tasks has the member/employee dealing with hazardous elements such as naphthalene, DDT, asbestos, and Arsenic mercury and lead in rather close proximity.

What makes an element hazardous?

Although anything with a danger sign or related symbol will have you alerted there are roughly three categories-

  • Chemical hazards- these are toxic or poisonous toxins that can have short-term or acute effects on the body. These could also be carcinogens that could cause accumulate and cause damage for a longer time and have a chronic effect. In collection care, chemical hazards would be pesticides, formaldehyde heavy metals that appear in a wide variety of forms, and ethnobotanical toxins. 
  • Physical hazards- these might not be toxic but dangerous that can harm the body physically. These include flammable or explosive agents such as cellulose nitrate and pressurized objects that might explode (radioactive materials) and cause physical damage. Also, objects with sharp edges are dangerous as well. Asbestos can fall under this category as its accumulation causes physical trauma inside the lungs.
  • Biological hazards- include infectious substances through organic materials or creatures. For instance, hantavirus which is spread by mice is dreaded in collection care. It includes other pathogens, molds, bird droppings, etc.

Connecting to Collections Care– Evaluation & Preservation

There are certain steps that help in locating and identifying the potential hazards in the collection. This is really important as it can prevent the potential dangers in the museum.

  • Research

The best and the most ideal way to reduce exposure to hazardous materials would be to research to build familiarity with toxins from a collection care standpoint. This includes valuable literature and information available in several institutions to identify and manage. There are a lot of toxicological data available on various substances so that you exactly how dangerous an element is and gets. Research helps you identify certain pharmaceuticals and related terminologies easily that would otherwise be slightly challenging.

  • Collection Exploration

Evaluation is incomplete without surveying the object records and storage. This way you as a curator, collector, or carer can easily detect the historical notations of toxic or poison in the collections. This includes intrinsically toxic objects or collections treated with pesticides. Surveying helps in making oneself familiar with the collections as it later becomes easy to detect and identify hazards.

  • Analytical Testing

There are a lot of toxins that do not get detected by the naked eye and can be identified through analytical testing. The two most useful techniques are X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS). These non-invasive to minimally invasive techniques can be used for detecting toxic elements like heavy metals, organic pesticides, and ethnobotanical toxins.

Connecting to Collections care is possible by preventing hazardous elements from overpowering the environment of the museum or any space for that matter; enabling safe and healthy space for the entire team.

Colllections Care

Expert Collections Care Tips To Store Your Artwork

Your guests love the beautiful art on the wall of your home. You do too, however, you know there will be certain art pieces that will have your attention which would eventually replace the original. Regardless of whether you are a budding collector or a gallery enthusiast, art maintenance is the key to keep the art in its valuable, pristine condition. However, there could be other antiques, paintings, sculptures, sketches, and other collectibles that cannot be simply accumulated in your home. This implies especially if one has a small living space. Either way, with time, you are going to consider collecting other artworks which would call for storing them. Otherwise, they will get damaged.

Special Collections Care Tips :

What are the Right Places for Storing Art?

There is no one ideal place to store art. Different artworks require different preparations, settings, and environments. The first step would be to choose the right premises artwork storage. Yes, any room can be converted into a storeroom but you will have to make arrangements to make it suitable for your artwork to remain in its original condition.
The most essential factor that plays a pivotal role in art storage is to prepare a room that is absolutely isolated from the outside world. The room should be closed at all times and there should be zero human traffic and natural interferences like weather, sounds, temperature changes, structural damages, and other natural factors like sunlight, etc.
One can also turn a walk-in closet or an office into an art storage space but then again you must be careful that the room is not attached or adjacent to a space that is supposedly too “active”. You are highly mistaken if these suggestions make you think of attics or basements because they are not properly insulated or equipped with climate control technology.
Another factor that you must consider while converting a room into an art storage room is to check for open air vents and broken windows. The first thing possibly that you must consider is to hire a handyman or consult an art specialist to inspect your potential artwork storage facility. A mild stench or speck of dust are indications of mold which wouldn’t work in your favor in the long run. Get the room treated before using it.

What are the Ideal Conditions for Art Storage?

Artworks and antiques have stood the test of time and have survived eras and years and remained unfazed by external conditions even though they were never kept in climate-controlled rooms, to begin with. Technically they have all existed or pre-existed in times with no air conditioning or proper ventilation so why are we intrigued by storage solutions?
The answer is simple, times have changed and evolved. The way of the world is not similar to what it was fifteen years ago. Natural Environmental conditions have altered for the worse and would reflect on precious antiques. It is all the more applicable to modern art. For instance, one has to work with caution when it comes to wax-based paints as they could start dripping all over your furniture if there is a slight change in thermostat controls.


The ideal temperature to store artwork ranges from 70 to 75°F. This includes most art pieces and antiques. Fluctuating or extreme temperatures would only lead to cracks, chips, and mold growth. If you cannot arrange a room with a steady temperature you must go for climate-controlled storage units.


No, this is not about light fixtures and ceiling lights. It’s the harmful and invisible radiation of UV rays that could damage the art. Regardless of the material or object, you must keep all your antiques and collectibles away from direct sunlight. If there happens to be a window in the room, make sure to use UV filtering agents that would minimize UV exposure. Instead of using glass as picture frames, Acrylite or Plexiglas can be used to filter UV radiation.


An artwork is composed of various materials and there are several different types of agents in the air that could have them respond accordingly. However, the average recommended humidity for art storage ranges from 40-50%. All in all, the aim should be to stabilize humidity without fail. Installing a smart thermostat, sensor, or home assistant would keep the humidity constant and alert you, in case of any fluctuation.

What Are the Ground Rules for Artwork Storage?

· Always wear cotton gloves or latex ones when handling artwork.· Use Ph neutral slip-sheets to separate paper artwork while stacking them.· Fresh oil paintings must not be stored immediately. They could take more than a year to dry. · Framed and stretched artwork must be stacked on racks with gaps for air to flow freely. In this case, a little sunlight sometimes would avert the possibilities of mold and fungus development. · Wooden drawers are not recommended to store artwork since wood itself is vulnerable to insects and other pests. · Always use a microfibre cloth to gently clean the artwork occasionally. This will enable the extension of its lifespan. · Examine the artwork regularly for signs of pests and infestation.
A word to the wise, despite following all the tips and precautions, there is always room for damage due to unexpected problems. Therefore, it is important to keep a check on museum Art collections care tips regularly despite creating favorable and probably the best conditions for your art.

Barbara Appelbaum Books Colllections Care

Barbara Appelbaum Books – Preserve, Protect and Defend: A Practical Guide to the Care of Collections

Preserve, Protect, and Defend: A Practical Guide to the Care of Collections has been written by Barbara Appelbaum and aims towards making the lives of museum workers easy.

This is a book that is full of sources for all professionals related to the museum industry. Anyone who is either a curator or a manager, a registrar or an administrator, or even an expert on pest control has sources that will be useful to them.

Along with the professionals associated with the museums, this book also a great source of information for anyone holding a private collection and individuals who have an interest in the preservation of various collections. It acts as a guide.

It also plays an important role for a person who wishes to volunteer or work as an outside consultant to a museum. The book has been designed to give insight to people of various interests and different levels of expertise. It is a useful source guide to anyone who wants to start a museum related to any field.

Various topics covered in this book are

· Safety practices for routine collections

· Assessments for conservation

· A practical guide for examination of collections and uncovering safety challenges of buildings

· Safety protocols for collections happening routinely

· Advance planning for unforeseen natural hazards like water and wind penetration, smoke and fire, and other infestations

· How to control the environment of the museums which includes temperature and humidity checks, light and air quality, and lightening

Barbara Appelbaum’s book is a great source of information about the various aspects of museums and the people associated with them. The language used in this book is easy to understand and follow. It is a valuable and must-have book to be added to your library if you are an individual who loves to collect and gather information

The goals of the book are to share in-depth and in an easy language the principles behind collections care to the people at a museum so that they can have a meaningful art conversation with the experts and collectors, for anyone to evaluate the reliability factor of various sources printed and online, the book also aims to help the handlers in an everyday museum operation.

The book’s chapters are grouped into six sections.

· Section 1 is inclusive of chapters 1 and 2 and explores the meaning of “art preservation” and how it relates to “art conservation”.

· Section two starts from chapter 3 and goes up to chapter 7 and deals with collections care and experts dealing with the processes for care. It also describes the assessment process and making recommendations ensuring a fruitful outcome.

· Section 3 includes chapters 8 to 12; this section deals with the decision-making process related to the collection care issues as they are multi-dimensional and multi-departmental involving many authorities including outside consultants.

· Section 4 of the book includes chapters 13 to chapter 18 which talks about the environment of the museum and its effects on preservation.

· Section 5 includes chapters 19 to 24 and shares inputs on the advance planning for any unforeseen hazards that may affect the collection, documentation, furniture, and the building itself. Also extending to the health and safety of staff and visitors.

· And the last section, section 6 speaks about how conservators look at collections and enhancement of visitor’s experience and ways to increase the visitor ship.

This book talks about how people from all over the world working in numerous museums, archives, libraries, art centers, and such places have difficult choices to make every now and then to preserve, protect and defend the collection in their care.

This book is a great addition to museums of all sizes, libraries, and private collections and will help one save your collections against theft, damage, and other factors that can lead to its deterioration.


This book has been highly appreciated by readers and has garnered raving reviews. It has a five-star rating and is considered a valuable insight for anybody associated with museums. In addition to taking care of all the collections, the book also gives tips on how to protect the artifacts from critics.

The language of the book is very clear and easy to comprehend. It gives an insight to museum collection managers, their staff, and other people connected with the museum about the risks and requirements of their collections and how to tackle them.

The book is highly recommended by a professor of historic preservation programs for its comprehensive and precise content. It has also been included in their course syllabus and is considered a masterpiece. It is a must-read for anyone who is inclined towards artifacts, their preservation as well as how to cope with the challenges imposed by nature which may have drastic effects on them.

Colllections Care Museology

Collections care and its significance in Museology

When it comes to Significance of Collections Care in museology or work of any museum there are ethical, fiduciary, legal, and professional responsibilities involved. Collection(s) care is among the main responsibilities. Of course, there is conservation in relation to collections care and then there’s preservation. However, it’s a whole another discussion. Collection(s) care can be discussed in regards to the management and treatment of collections that could be either or both preventive and remedial conservation. Whether you are a curator or a manager understanding how to care for your collections is among the primary things to consider when starting a gallery or museum.

Why is Collection(s) Care important?

Collections make a museum unique and stand out. Without them, it might as well not exist. This makes collections care all the more important as it makes them available to the public eye in their original entirety. Also, it helps in the preservation of collections for future generations.

Significance of Collections Care

Collections care in simple terms is caring for collections which means objects and collections over everything. These statement specimens need to be in their finest possible condition at all times; regard and respect for these spectacular objects will always remain a mandatory obligation in the field of conservation and preservation.

The respect and regard begin with treating all objects as irreplaceable, fragile, and utterly valuable. Since they are the most priceless assets of a museum, every object counts. The key to care is to believe that every object is of equal value. The more you care for your collections, the more grandeur of your museum.

Care or Conservation?

Although you might have heard references to conservation while discussing caring for collection(s); it’s a whole another practice to collections care. There is –

Collections care- It follows a standard strategy that incorporates the correct protocol for managing collections.

Remedial conservation- it’s when the damaged individual items in collections are corrected or stabilized.

Preventive conservation- this has everything to do with the potential damage and issues with collections. It includes pest management, storage, environmental monitoring to prevent all kinds of damage to the collections.

Roles and Responsibilities

When it comes to collections care, everyone has a role to play. From volunteers to cleaners everyone should be concerned about the safety of the collections. It is not the duty of a single person or a group of staff members particularly for the responsibility of caring for a museum’s collections- the entire museum team should be involved in preserving museum collections.

Managerial responsibility– managers have the supreme responsibility. The role includes strategy development, planning, and implementation of the essential care tasks.

  • Facilitating workforce training sessions
  • Organizing and distributing duties for basic tasks
  • Curating the procedural manual
  • Creating an allocating budget for collection(s) care supplies

Ongoing care– a continual process that requires the establishment of proper action plan and routines to ensure year-round care through-

  • Housekeeping
  • Checking and Monitoring
  • Labeling

Housekeeping- this is essential in the maintenance of a clean museum, just so the quality of the collections remains preserved and intact.

  • Maintaining clean environment
  • Pest management
  • Appropriate cleaning of objects
  • Cleaning dust and protective sheets

Checking and Monitoring – A very important practice, regularly monitoring and checking for issues would help identify major problems early on. This includes routine checks for updated data and information.

  • Condition of collections
  • Suitability of containers, fittings, and furniture
  • Building and facility maintenance
  • Equipment maintenance

Labeling- this practice keeps track of all the objects in the collections. It involves a central database that has a labeling system.

Collections care includes a lot more than simply caring for collections, these valuable pieces have stood the test of time for generations and would continue to do so with respect, regard, and care in the world of museology.

Art Conservation, Conservation of Art Barbara Appelbaum Books Colllections Care

(INFOGRAPHIC) Best Books for Conservators and Museum Professionals by Barbara Appelbaum

Museum Care Books For Conservators and Museum Professionals

If you run a museum, you already know that regardless of how valuable collection your collection is, it is challenging to maintain and manage your museum. After all, you have to take care of the objects that are highly prone to deterioration as well as theft and damage. Then, showcasing your items appropriately to the visitors is the next challenge to deal with.

Museum care is a highly demanding field. It is a skill that can always be improved. Reading up on new methods will make you smarter and efficient at managing and preserving your museum collection.

Museum care books for conservators and museum professionals can help. It is one of the best and feasible ways to learn museum management and collection. In a field like museum care where past knowledge is excessively valuable, books prove to be a godsend.

Barbara Appelbaum is a renowned author of specialist books on museum care and management.

Counted among one of the eminent objects conservators in the USA, she has handled several notable projects such as George Washington’s leather portfolio, a Marcel Duchamp urinal, and a Marilyn Monroe dress.

Below, you will find the books for conservators and museum professionals written by Barbara Appelbaum. These books have been highly recommended by experts and readers alike. Here we finish up the list of three-just published books on museum and collection care that you should keep an eye out for.

Whether you are looking for preserving tips, wondering how to protect your museum collection from various environments, or you want to learn about conservation treatment methodology, there is something for everyone on this list.

Book I :

Preserve, Protect, and Defend: A Practical Guide to the Care of Collections

This book is a useful source for all museum professionals, whether you are curators, registrars, managers, administrators, or pest control expert.

In fact, it is also a great piece of info for someone with a private collection.

The book covers a wide range of topics such as:

  • Conservation assessments
  • Practical advice for examining collections and buildings to uncover collection safety issues
  • Routine collection safety practices
  • Preparing for the unexpected, including wind and water penetration, fire and smoke, and infestations;
  • Controlling the museum environment including temperature and relative humidity, light and lighting, and air quality.

This book also offers an insight into the world of museums and their staff. It presents the information in an easy language. This is a must-have book for everyone taking care of the collection as well as the buildings that house them. Ideal for museums of all sizes, libraries, and private collections!

Book II :

Conservation Treatment Methodology

Another wonderful book on museum care by Barbara Appelbaum!

It tells about a systematic approach to decision-making for conservation treatments. The book covers the methods that are applicable to all cultural property, independent of object type or material, and its use will enable conservators to be more confident in their treatment decisions.

Moreover, the book features several examples with illustrations to emphasize the equal importance of the physical and cultural aspects of objects for decision-making.

The book also explains how the history of an object and the meaning that it holds for its owner or custodian contribute to determining its treatment.

It is an important book for historic preservation specialists, restorers, conservators, and students. The book is written in a simple language, making it equally useful for art historians and museum personnel who work with conservators.

Book III :

Guide to Environmental Protection of Collections

This book is a must-have for anyone who cares for or about collections of historical artifacts, collections of art, or any other kind of cultural material or for natural history collections.

The lessons are presented in a simple language so that even a person with no technical background can easily understand the things.

So these are some Books for Conservators and Museum Professionals written by Barbara Appelbaum. Click here to shop now!