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Our mission is simple — to help you capture, preserve, organize and enjoy your family's most valuable memories using archival best practices, methodologies equipment and supplies, employed by FA Logo professional archivists and museum experts from around the world.


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How to Preserve Your Mementos

Postcard boxes organize and protect
memories from everywhere you've traveled

Although different types of mementos sometimes require different kinds of handling and storage, there are some general rules you can follow for taking care of most of your antiques, clothing, collectibles and other three-dimensional items. Light exposure, as well as moisture and temperature fluctuations will be of concern for almost any type of memento, including clothing. The methods you use to handle and clean your mementos and the materials in which you store items are very important to preserve your memories.

Helpful Hint: Professional archivists and conservators often specialize in handling certain types of materials. Although a professional textile conservator might have some general ideas about handling and storing toys or dishes, if you have a valuable or special object that is damaged or needs extra care, it's best to find a specialist for the exact type of object you have. Ask at your local history museum or university museum studies department to help you find an expert in your area.

Handling Your Mementos & Clothing
It's best to wear archival-quality gloves when handing mementos and clothing, since oil, dirt and other materials can be transferred to the item causing damage or deterioration. However, if you don't have gloves or you're handling glass or pottery that might be too slippery for gloves, be sure your hands are as clean as possible.

Also, remember to support your items when handling them. Always hold them both from the side and from underneath. Items can crack or break if not properly supported. If you're holding delicate clothing by the collar or shoulders, for example, the fibers can tear just from the weight of the garment. If you support a garment along it's full length, you're less likely to damage it.

Cleaning and Repair
When working with your mementos, you may notice dust, dirt or other debris. If you're wearing white cotton archival gloves, they will reveal dirt or dust even if it's not visible.

Dirt and debris should be removed to prevent the scratching or damaging of items. You can clean the surface using a soft brush and a careful, light touch. DO NOT press the brush onto the surface. Also, shake out the brush frequently. And switch brushes if your items are extremely dirty or if you're cleaning many items at once. DO NOT use water, soap, detergents or other cleaning fluids on delicate or porous materials. If an article of clothing or other older memento is so dirty that cleaning it with a brush isn't enough, ask a professional conservator for help. DO NOT have delicate old clothing dry cleaned.

For non-porous, stable items such as glassware and pottery, it's okay to clean them with distilled water. Use cotton swabs or a soft cloth soaked in a little distilled water, to gently remove the dirt and debris from the outside, including any ornate, inlay designs.

Extremely dirty, stained or damaged family mementos should be professionally analyzed, repaired and conserved.

Protecting Your Mementos
The final step to preserving your mementos is to place them into archival folders, boxes and enclosures. Because of the three-dimensional nature of most treasured items, use these guidelines to work with your materials. Be sure to choose boxes that are appropriate for the type of item.

Any materials related to your items, such as a note or an envelope, can be kept with the item, however, place a sheet of archival paper between the original note and the memento. You can also use Mylar sleeves in lieu of archival paper.

If a box isn't completely filled, bend or cut a piece of archival spacer board to fill the empty space. Spacer boards can be used when you are storing items flat or vertically.

How to Protect Your Mementos:

  1. Figurines and other small three-dimensional objects

  2. Clothing

  3. Framed artwork

  4. Very small, delicate objects such as jewelry

1 Figurines and other small three-dimensional objects

Archival boxes are available in many shapes, sizes and configurations. You can obtain larger boxes that are deeper, with internal dividers that are ideal for storing figurines and other small items.

Start by wrapping small artifacts, such as jewelry, figurines and other ready-to-archive items, in archival tissue paper or bubble wrap, which will help stabilize and protect them.

Use a box size that will accommodate the wrapped object. You may also be storing related items in the same box, so make sure there will be adequate room for these items and use archival spacer board to separate the items. Do not stuff an item into a box that is too small.

2 Clothing

Clothing items should be individually stored in special garment-sized archival boxes. Archival tissue paper should be used to protect each piece of clothing. Before placing clothing in a box, lay tissue in the box so that the item is fully wrapped in tissue, just like a garment given to you as a gift. If the garment is so large you must fold it, stuff the fold with crumpled archival tissue paper so that the fold doesn't lie perfectly flat or make a sharp crease. If you have many small items, you can store them in the same box, but don't overload the box.

3 Framed artwork

Framed artwork should be stored in individual boxes with archival spacer boards cut to size to make sure the piece is secure inside its box. Do not stack pieces of art on top of one another.

4 Very small, delicate objects such as jewelry

More delicate items can be placed in Mylar sleeves or in acid-free, archival envelopes. Take extra care to keep from scratching each item's surface.