Basic Steps for Storing Your Collection
We are well aware that making funds available to assist with the care of your collections will be far down the priority list at most clubs.
However, there are some cheap, quick and easy basic steps that rugby clubs can take for objects in storage or on display
- Store in cool areas
- Try to keep relative humidity (RH) constant - Extreme changes (more than 10% RH) may cause expansion and shrinkage, resulting in damage. High humidity encourages the growth of mould and bacteria. Low humidity causes drying and brittleness. For example, a basement is often cool, but high humidity as it can be very damp. An attic is often very low humidity because the hot air rises and there is usually no source of dampness. Unless of course your roof is leaking, then heat and water will make a hothouse!
- Store in darkened places - Extended exposure to light (natural or artificial) will fade most objects since ultraviolet light causes bleaching and the breakdown of organic materials. This is especially important for printed objects, photos and dyed materials. Examples of this can often be seen in shop windows, where their products are very faded.
- Keep objects reasonably ventilated - Sealed areas can create stagnant air, encouraging infestation. However, completely open ventilation leaves objects open to airborne dust and dirt. Try to ventilate from all angles.
Do not store objects directly in plastic other than special conservation-friendly plastic (such as Melinex Polyester sleeves) - Normal plastic will make fibres sweat in high temperatures and will cause condensation. Large plastic boxes and containers are OK if the objects are wrapped individually in tissue and ventilation holes exist.
Be mindful of acid, dyes, inks and other infection agents that can degenerate objects - Acid will turn white paper brown and brittle.
Do not clean objects with household cleaning agents - These often have damaging acid in them and are often too abrasive. If cleaning is desperately required use soapy water. You will be surprised how well this works.
- Undertake minimal handling of objects - Too much handling will increase problems that already exist. Always pick objects up at their strongest point. Note that this may not be by the handles.
Wash your hands - You must have clean, recently washed hands at all times before handling objects. Acid forms on the palms of your hands and you also carry general dirt. Do not use hand creams before handling objects. Cotton and latex gloves are excellent.
Do not permanently mark objects - Do not use pen / ink on any objects. Inscribe with a pencil, but only if it is essential.
- Storage areas must be kept clean so as not to attract vermin and insects - Routinely check for evidence of insects, often insect excrement (frass) is a good indicator of infestation.
The World Rugby Museum, Twickenham hopes you have found the information regarding storage and display of your club’s collection helpful.
Remember that any improvement is beneficial. The best results can be achieved by implementing your actions in phases and part of a long-term plan. We hope you take the correct precautions in looking after the country’s sporting heritage.
For more information or advice, please feel free to call the World Rugby Museum, Twickenham. We will endeavour to advise you or point you in the right direction for the most appropriate care and use of your objects.
World Rugby Museum, Twickenham Stadium, Rugby Road, Twickenham, TW1 1DZ, Phone: 020 8892 8877, Fax: 020 8892 2817, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org