Maintaining Museum Exhibits: Storage Tips

If you are responsible for managing a museum collection, you will often need to place items in storage for an extended period of time. However, because museum exhibits can be fragile things, it is important that you take precautions to ensure that they are protected. Below is a guide which will help you to keep your museum exhibits in top condition.


Many storage units are fitted with wooden shelves. While this type of shelving is great for storing ordinary items, it can present a problem when it is used to store museum exhibits. With the passage of time, wood emits acids which can cause damage to museum exhibits which are in contact with it. You can protect your exhibits by sealing any wooden shelving using a water-based paint. You should then place acid-free lining paper down on the surface of the wood which will act as an additional barrier between the acid and the items you are storing.

Containers and Covers

If you have decided to place your artefacts in boxes or folders, it is important that the containers are acid-free. You should never use plastic boxes to store items, as they will not allow air to circulate around the item or object which could result in the formation of mould or mildew. If an item does not fit into a box, you should drape an unbleached cotton dust cover over it to protect it from dust and other pollutants.

Air Quality 

When looking for storage units, you should check if the room features an HVAC system. An HVAC system will allow you to carefully control the temperature and the humidity of the space. If artefacts are exposed to extreme temperatures or high levels of humidity, they may be damaged. An HVAC system will also filter the air entering the storage unit, which means that your museum artefacts will not be affected by pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and ozone, which can damage fragile artworks and other items.

Pest Control

Unfortunately, there are a large number of pests which can cause serious damage to museum collections while they are in storage. These include insects such as beetles and moths which can lay eggs and consume some organic artefacts and termites which can badly damage wooden objects. Controlling the temperature and humidity can help to keep pests away. However, the number-one line of defence is ensuring the storage unit is well sealed and that there are no points where pests can enter.

If you would like further advice, you should contact a storage company today.