San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[San Diego Natural History Museum: Collections Care & Conservation]
Preventive conservation at your home or work

What do you have?
What damage might you see?
What can you do?

Caring for Collections

What can you do?


Find the best location for your collection.


  • Away from sunlight and fluorescent light. Hallways and rooms without windows are best.
  • Moderate temperatures and relative humidity. No attics or basements, please! Not near the heater or fireplace either.
  • Clean air, good air circulation;
  • Away from sources of water. Not just leaky pipes and drains, but what room is above yours?


Be a good housekeeper.


  • Inspect your entire collection regularly.
  • Keep the area clean from dust, pests, trash, food.


Use inert materials.


  • Acid-free or buffered papers are good. Avoid office-type folders and envelopes which are usually acidic.
  • Use polyester, polypropylene or polyethylene pages to hold photos or scrapbook items.
  • Use polyethylene foam as cushioning when needed.
  • Use unbuffered papers with color photographic materials and with protein materials. Photo mounting corners are okay.


Secure your objects.


  • Use a display cabinet with secure doors, especially if you live in earthquake zones
  • Use secure mounts for wall-hanging pieces.
  • "Childproof" your tabletop and wall displays

For objects of particular value, consult a professional conservator to be sure you have chosen the best options for care.

For more information...
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Collections | Caring for Collections | BRCC