Caring for Documents, Furniture, and Texiles in Your Home

Documents, Books, and Photographs

Family documents, books, and images are unique parts of our lives and are therefore considered highly valuable. Documents (such as letters, awards, certificates, and magazines), books (including bibles), and images (like posters, negatives, and photographs) can be made from a wide range of materials that are affected by such environmental factors as temperature, humidity, light, pests, and air pollution. Reducing the impact of these factors through safe handling, storage, and display practices will slow the rate of decay and help prevent damage to your objects.

Caring for your Documents / Books / Photographs


Furniture can be both simple in design—ranging from a few pieces of unfinished wood held together with nails, screws, or dowels—or incredibly complex—consisting of several different woods that have been stained, painted, or varnished and even decorated with veneer, metal, tortoiseshell, or mother-of-pearl inlays—and each of the materials used in the construction and manufacture of furniture can be affected by physical factors including scratches, abrasions, dents, warping, and breaks, as well as environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and pests. Reducing the impact of these factors through proper handling, storage, and display practices will help prevent damage to your objects and slow the rate of deterioration.

Caring for Your Furniture


Your family heirlooms are just as much a part of history as a museum’s artifacts. If these items are important to you, they are worth saving. The following information should be useful in helping preserve your treasures for future generations. Textile items include items such as quilts, embroideries, linens, and wedding gowns. They are an intimate part of our daily lives and are often valued for this reason. Textiles are made from a wide variety of materials, all sensitive to environmental factors such as light, humidity, temperature, and airborne soil. Protecting textiles from the extremes of these factors is key to their long-term preservation. Observing safe handling, storage, and display practices will significantly slow deterioration and help prevent damage.

Caring for Your Textiles