What type of boxes should be used in specific storage conditions?

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    • #133604
      Elsa Huxley
      Member

      Connie Ostrove, of the Bexley Historical Society in Bexley, Ohio, wrote in with these questions:

      We are hoping to upgrade our storage which is in the basement of a small caretaker’s cottage on the grounds of Jeffrey Mansion. The museum takes up the first floor. We have a varied collection (think mostly donations), with few books, a lot of furniture and objects, quite a lot of photographs, and some clothing.

      My question is–I have been looking at shelving such as Uline, as several recommended last week. Can I use plastic storrage boxes for storage, or is cardboard recommended, or archival quality storage boxes? Is any particular style in the Uline catalog recommended?

      We do have a dehumidifer, but there is only a “basement trap cellar door” separating the items from the outside. This summer, with the help of a college intern, I plan to inventory the items which are currently in cardboard boxes on wooden pallets, and some are not boxed at all. We also have a large number of drawings and prints, framed and unframed, which need storage.

    • #133611

      We are currenly using similar metal shelving in our storage room and it does a good job. You should have archival boxes and materials. How humid is your basement?

    • #133610

      We are currenly using similar metal shelving in our storage room and it does a good job. You should have archival boxes and materials. How humid is your basement?

    • #133609

      Thanks for your response. The basement seems dry and has not had problems with water, however, we have not been tracking humidity or temperature. This is something we will need to do. We purchased a dehimidifier.

      Do you think that if we can verify the temperature and humidity are within limits that archival boxes and materials will be satisfactory.

      Thanks, Connie Ostrove

    • #133608

      I would suggest getting something in the area that you can use to check temperature and humidity. I have these, http://www.universityproducts.com/cart.php?m=product_list&c=974&primary=1&parentId=&navTree%5B%5D=1262&navTree%5B%5D=1375&navTree%5B%5D=974 scattered all through my storage area. They are pretty affordable and will give you an idea of what environmental conditions you have. I conduct studies periodically where I physically record the temp and humidity over the period of a two weeks at three different times during the day. This gives me a good idea of what is going on in the room. I would probably do some monitoring like this prior to putting the dehumidifier in action.

      Using pallets to keep things off the floor is a great idea.

      Miriam

    • #133607

      Excellent idea! I can add these to my preservation grant request.

    • #133606
      Elsa Huxley
      Member

      Next Tuesday, March 6 at 1:00 pm the Online Community is hosting a live chat on monitoring environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity with dataloggers. This is the featured resource on the homepage right now. Hope you can join us for that!

    • #133605

      Connie, I noticed you asked about plastic storage containers, and if you’re looking into polypropylene or polyethylene, these can be a good option, especially for a space with wide RH fluctuations. The Image Permanence Institute did an interesting study showing that the microenvironments within plastic containers took much longer to equilibrate to the outside environment than did the microenvironments within archival boxes. Our blog has a discussion of pros and cons of plastic boxes that you might find helpful and contains a link to IPI’s study. (http://collectionsconversations.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/pros-and-cons-of-plastic-storage-containers/)

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