Stories your Grandmother told you are not true.........These myths about caring for artifacts are just that MYTHS. People truly believe they are true and are practicing them today.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Preservation Myths
Stories from your grandmother that are
These practices have been around for a long
•Some were thought to logical………
•Some from old but misguided manuals………
•Some are down right nuts.!!
This presentation is to help dispels some
practices that could do harm to your collection.
• All wood and their finishes
need to be “fed”
A long time favorite is: linseed oil,
vinegar, beeswax and turpentine.
• Ultra-violet films,
Plexiglas, and additives
will last forever
• Same with acid-free
• Temperature fluctuations are harmless.
• “Cold temperatures are (almost always) good, not bad for collections.”
• Humidity must be tightly controlled in a
very narrow band.
• “Putting a shot glass of water in an unsealed exhibit case is beneficial to
regulating the RH”
• Light kills mold
• Polish copper and brass with salt and
• “An alternate recipe I have seen would have you use some toothpaste
in the mix for its natural abrasive properties; and I suppose your silver
would be minty fresh.”
• Tarnex works great.
• Polish silver often.
• Commercial brass cleaners are fine.
• For abraded gold gilding I often get: "can't you just put
more gold paint on".
• Remove white spots on table tops
using mayonnaise, butter and cigars
• Murphy’s Oil Soap is magic.
• Using Pledge on anything. “Please stop now.”
• Dust is a protective crust.
• Non-glare glass in framing will
• Cut holes in the backing boards of
paintings so they can breathe.
• Remove artifacts from their cases and
put into storage so they can “rest”.
• (giving the false idea that this ‘resting’ some how
rejuvenates said object and undoes all those years of
• To rid books of musty
smells, sprinkle talcum
powder between the pages,
wrap and store for several
• Bounty and other premium paper
towels are made from cotton fibers.
• “I contacted all the major paper towel manufacturers and
all the really nice ones are made from virgin wood pulp.”
• If water is to be used in cleaning, it
must be deionized.
• Bronze and glass disease is
• Copper corrosion is a stabile
patina on outdoor bronze.
• “Cleaning coins in lemon juice. Even the dealers
do it…… Yikes!”
• Clean small marble sculptures with
laundry soap and put in microwave.
• Soak ivory in milk to whiten then coat with
Vaseline motor oil, or any oily substance.
Keeps them from cracking.
• Soak quilt stains in buttermilk and lay in
the sun to whiten.
• Clean paintings with egg wash.
• Clean paintings with raw potato or
• Clean paintings with gasoline.
• Clean paintings with bread.
• A sprinkler system is a greater risk
than the fire itself.
• “ A sprinkler system is rarely a greater risk to your
collection than the fire it will suppress.”
• Treat all skins, hides and taxidermy
trophies with arsenic to keep bug free.
• Deacidify paper with Rolaids or Milk of
Magnesia and seltzer water.
• Put your woven baskets in a tub of water
• “to keep nice and supple….jeez”.
• (this resulted in one collector who coated his baskets
• Dry cleaning historic textiles is good.
• “Several traditional remedies applied to textiles in the past actually
contributed to their demise rather than extending their life. Early 'dry'
cleaning used an absorbent powder, such as Fullers earth (a natural
clay that is slightly alkaline) bran or cornmeal. The powder was
worked into the textile and then brushed away in the hope that it
would absorb and remove oily stains. Bread, lightly rolled over a
textile, was also recommended to removing grubbiness and surface
• Remove smoke and mold odors with
• Clean leather with Saddle Soap
and liberally soak with a good
leather dressing like the British
• “Feeding leather! It's already dead. My dad still won't
•And last but not
• Laminate paper and valuable
documents so they last forever.
• You can find a depressing amount of "myths" or just bad
advice on WikiHow.
Be careful what you read…………..