29 April 2011

Let's talk about Moisture

Earlier this week, I stated that moisture can be dangerous for cultural heritage materials.

High humidity promotes mold growth, corrosion, and degradation, while excessive dryness can cause drying and cracking. Fluctuations between extremes can cause warping, buckling and flaking.

Here are two examples of damaged found within the Lucille Hasell Culp Collection. Excess moisture weakened and degraded the paper. The weakened paper grew mold which attracted insects. Insects left behind fecal and urine droppings which further damaged the paper. The damage cannot be totally undone.

Benjamin Franklin was correct: "A Stitch in Time Saves Nine." It is better to keep inappropriate levels of moisture away from precious family treasures than to try to repair damage that is easily preventable.

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