Read our statement of support for the Black community and other communities of color.

DIY Preservation

Unfortunately, the museum’s Collections staff is unable to provide appraisal, authentication, or conservation services for non-museum items. But they’ve assembled recommendations and resources to help you do-it-yourself or to find the right expert.


Top 10 Conservation Tips

Keep It Dim
Light fades ink and deteriorates natural fibers. Damage from light is irreversible.

Keep It Dry
Store boxes of heirlooms off of the floor. Avoid basements and plumbing that could fail.

Keep It Cool
A cool, stable temperature works best for long term preservation.

Keep It Original
Consult a conservation specialist before cleaning, repairing, or restoring historic items. Think carefully before removing original patina.

Keep It Clean
Clean textiles prior to storing to preserve fibers and avoid attracting insects.

Keep It Secure
Make loss by theft less likely by keeping small valuables locked up.

Keep It Together
Heirlooms stored in one place can be evacuated more easily in an emergency.

Keep It Acid-free
Avoid acidic cardboard storage boxes for clothing, quilts, and paper. Opt for acid-free or polyester plastic boxes for long-term storage of important items.

Make Copies
Copy original documents and photographs. Handle and display copies and store the originals.

Record Your Story
Names, dates, and stories are easily lost. Write down why this item was important to you to keep, preferably with a photograph.


How To Protect Your Treasures

Learn simple techniques and methods for protecting different types of collections at Gaylord Archival.

For information about preventive conservation or if damage has already occurred and a professional conservator is needed, visit the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC)  web site for help locating the right specialist. Sometimes only professional conservators with in-depth scientific or artistic training and extensive experience can repair a damaged artifact or artwork.

The highly regarded Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) also offers online resources on specific conservation topics.


Appraiser and Valuation Assessment Resources

Appraisers Association

International Society of Appraisers

Seattle Art Museum

More Preservation Resources


Painting Conservation

Seattle Art Museum

National Park Service



Conservation and Care of Collections, edited by David Gilroy and Ian Godfrey, Western Australia Museum Association

The Winterthur Guide to Caring for Your Collections, edited by Onie Rollins, University Press of New England

Caring for American Indian Objects: A Practical and Cultural Guide, edited by Sherelyn Ogden, Minnesota Historical Society Press