The full text of this article is available to Plus members only.
For full access to all of our articles, please Join or Log In.
Not a Plus Member?
Preservation Rx
Keep your clan’s keepsakes healthy for future generations. Our preservation doctor writes prescriptions for treating 10 types of heirlooms.
Medical students learn from day one that first and foremost, doctors should do no harm. Back in our ancestors’ day, however, certain treatments epitomized the saying, “sometimes the cure is worse than the ill.” (Bloodletting, anyone?)
Likewise, when it comes to preserving your heirlooms, the family historian’s Hippocratic oath is “do nothing you can’t undo.” On the surface, this seems simple enough: You don’t amputate a page of the family Bible because it’s dirty.
But proper preservation techniques aren’t always so obvious. In fact, the people who inherit cherished family keepsakes—out of ignorance or misinformation—sometimes follow “remedies” that ultimately do more harm than good: Laminating a birth certificate. Tearing a photo out of an old scrapbook. Putting Dad’s childhood stuffed dog through the washing machine.
To ensure that your family heirlooms meet a happier fate than poor Fluffy did, we’ve outlined safe, tested prescriptions for preserving 10 common kinds of family heirlooms. If you possess a keepsake that doesn’t fit neatly into these categories, use the tips prescribed for items of the same material (paper, wood, cloth, metal)—and see the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works’ Web site to find advice and professional conservators to consult.
To continue reading this article
Share |
Did you enjoy this article?
Please share it!
Recent Blog Posts »
Recent Articles »

Free Genealogy Downloads

Historical Maps of Europe Premium Collection
When you buy the Historical Maps of Europe Premium Collection, you'll get the brand new Family Tree Historical Maps Book: Europe, as well as an assortment of other incredible tools to trace you ancestors back to the home country and visualize the world in which they lived--in full color.
Only available in March, this collection has a retail value of $197.95, but is yours this month only for $59.99!

They're going fast - get yours today!

©  F+W All rights reserved.