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Restore Records Management News

Who Would need to Use Heritage Storage?

Published on Friday, May 10, 2019

Who Would need to Use Heritage Storage?

There are many thousands of businesses and organisations that make good use of off-site storage for all manner of valuable items. These include paper-based documentation, archived files, back up tapes, discs and other media storage that holds valuable company information.

The type of off-site storage facilities needed will also vary according to the materials being stored away. While your company or organisation may be happy with using off-site deep storage facilities for your archived paper-based files that you don't need to access on a day to day basis, it will be fine to keep these files in a secure purpose-built warehouse facility.

For example, there are thousands of businesses that need to keep archived paperwork for a set number of years before they can safely dispose of it through secure paper shredding and recycling.

However, there are some precious objects that will never see the end of their useful life. Such objects are classed as heritage items and can include anything from ancient paper or parchment documents or scrolls, oil paintings, antiques, furniture, tapestries and wall hangings, rugs, bedding and ancient clothing collections that are simply irreplaceable.

Ensuring safe storage and access to heritage items

Restore Records have the honour of being the chosen partner for many museums and art galleries where we are tasked to take the very best care of their precious collections.

We understand that collection owners don't simply want to lock away their precious items to never see the light of day again. There are many restoration companies we assist with our heritage storage facilities that not only allow critical climate-controlled storage, but also safe access to their collections while they are going through a period of restoration work.

Taking care of your collections

Our heritage storage solution is ideal for anyone with items of high historical and financial value. We know that it is imperative that only the very best care is taken with the handling and storage of items that have such high emotional and historical significance.

But it is not just museums, art galleries, antique dealers and restoration companies that we deal with. We also work closely with many long-established company business owners to safeguard precious business-related documentation.

These can include original copies of company formations documentation that contain the signatures of the founding members, original deeds to historical buildings and business premises that the company owners will want to preserve for posterity.

So, no matter what historical items you have that you need to keep safe and secure, from fine art pieces, paintings, ancient textiles and complete collections, Restore Records are here to help with our Heritage Storage solution.

Make good use of our specialist knowledge

Because Restore Records have many years of experience in providing heritage storage solutions for leading museums, art galleries and businesses, our services are perfectly tailored to fit the needs of each of our clients and their unique heritage items.

We are ideally placed to advise new heritage storage users about ensuring the safe storage of their items with the correct environmental needs, while always ensuring that these environmental conditions are well maintained.

What if we have a lot of small valuable objects?

We understand that many museums and galleries will regularly want to rotate their collections and these will include many small and precious objects.

Usually, museums will use display cabinets with draws to show their small objects. It can be advantageous to look at investing in storage systems with a variety of draws that can offer safe storage of your small items, but will also mean they can be protected from the effects of light exposure and dust accumulation.

There are a number of manufacturers that build portable draw display storage specifically for museum collections. The beauty of these systems is that once you have finished displaying your collection, you can simply move the whole storage cabinet into our heritage storage leaving your small objects undisturbed and completely protected.

Climate controlled heritage storage facilities

At Restore Records we have a long history of supporting the British Heritage Sector with their ongoing valuable work to preserve and safeguard precious historical objects to take into the future and enrich the lives of the next generations to come.

Through using our state-of-the-art, innovative heritage storage facilities and care services, the UK's museums, art galleries and conservation organisations can feel rest assured that their precious items will be taken good care of.

Our Heritage Storage facilities meet the highest conservation standards as laid down in PD5454:2012 and BS/EN16893, so our service users can have great peace of mind knowing that their collections are being protected.

The greener storage option

Because our Oxfordshire-based heritage storage facilities have actually been created through the clever conversion of ex-Cold War hardened aircraft shelters, we can offer facilities that are bombproof, flood-proof, fireproof, damp-proofed and are also pest-free.

Not only are our converted aircraft shelters so protective, but they are also actually historical monuments in their own right. It seems so fitting that these iconic buildings should now be home to more of the countries precious heritage items for safe keeping.

Our heritage storage facilities also offer cutting-edge 21st-century technology that means our heritage operation has a low carbon footprint and is an ecologically sound choice for your irreplaceable historical objects.

Atmospherically controlled rooms

Each of our heritage storage facilities houses suites of on-site atmospherically controlled rooms for the safe storage of items that need tightly controlled atmospheric conditions for their preservation.

Restore Records can also provide you with special digitisation and uplift services ideal for those with active collections that need to be retrieved or rotated on a regular basis.

The importance of climate control for preservation

While many larger museums, galleries and exhibition organisations have previously kept their collections secured in their own on-site storage facilities, there are many older buildings that no longer meet the current standards for historical storage.

This can often mean that older museum buildings are unable to provide the ideal climate control needed to preserve their ancient collections. This is why Restore Records is an ideal choice for those looking to move their archived artefacts to our facilities that can provide ideal constant temperature and humidity levels.

Our heritage storage conforms to BS 4971:2017 meeting the ideal needs for the conservation and care of archive and library collections. This standard is the current best practice in the management of archived collections to ensure their ongoing preservation needs.

Archaeological Archive storage

Restore Records also understand that there is a need for ongoing active heritage storage services for those organisations involved in archaeological digs and projects.

As you build your archaeological archive, this will include many precious historical items uncovered from your dig sites as well as the records of the finds, including written records, photographs and digital data.

The physical finds may include pottery, jewellery, metalwork and other remains that will need to be catalogued and stored in a climate-controlled facility such as ours.

We understand that all these different parts of your archaeological archive will need to be kept safe and organised in a way that makes granting access to your items is made as easy as possible while further research is conducted on your finds.

Maintaining secure management and access to your items will be of prime importance. We understand that there will be some elements of your physical finds that will need very different environmental conditions than others. For example, we know that your metal artefacts will need much drier environmental storage conditions than other materials such as wood or pottery.

Long term collection care

Taking good long term care of historical collections means taking the physical preventative measures necessary to prevent any degradation or damage affecting the items or objects while in storage.

The steps we take by providing the ideal climate-control conditions and minimizing potential damage from externals sources such as improper storage, handling, exposure to light and pest infestation are important for the long-term preservation of your collections.

Restore Records will work closely with you to draw up a plan for your long term collection maintenance needs. This plan is needed in order for us to put in place the correct practices to better safeguard your collection and to mitigate any potential threats that may negatively affect the condition of your items.

While it can be virtually impossible to completely eliminate all natural deterioration of certain objects, by implementing a careful plan of monitoring environmental conditions and physical space, these effects can be slowed down and greatly reduced.

Preserving historical clothing and textiles

Many museums and historical exhibition organisations will be charged with the responsibility of taking care of some irreplaceable historical fabric items such as original clothing worn centuries ago, ancient tapestries, wall hangings, banners, flags and other textiles of significant importance.

Any stored historical fabric item will need protecting from light, dust, mildew, atmospheric pollution and insects. They can also suffer some degradation through being stored at the wrong temperature or humidity levels.

Restore Records Heritage Storage solution

If you are responsible for the care and preservation of any irreplaceable fabric or textile pieces, then choosing to use our heritage storage will be the best solution for the long term condition of your precious items.

Our climate-controlled rooms will not only be able to protect your textiles from the dangers of direct sunlight or fluorescent light, but your fabric items will also be kept away from dust and other environmental pollutions that could cause damage to their fibres.

Remember that our storage facilities are also insect proof. This means that your fabric items will not be at risk of an infestation of clothes moths or other types of insects that could destroy your items.

There are a number of moth species that will attack textiles, including natural fabrics such as wool and other animal-based fabrics. The most common of these is the clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella).

This is a particularly aggressive moth that is tiny and will hide in the dark folds of fabric laying batches of eggs. They target wool, fur, skin, feathers and leather. They prefer warm and dark conditions and up to three life-cycles of clothes moth can develop in warm conditions.

This is why it is very important to check and treat your fabric items carefully before placing them into long-term storage to make sure they are free of any insect infestation that could be devastating.

Packaging and storage concerns for material items

Collection managers must be careful not to expose textiles to risks not only from the environment but also how they store these items. Textiles should not be stored in direct contact with materials that could cause staining or damage, such as newspaper, cardboard or wood surfaces.

Wood and paper materials will produce harmful acids as they age that can cause brown or yellow stains to any fabric they come in contact with. There can also be risks posed by some metals, especially rust damage from damp environments.

Even plastic packaging can cause moisture build-up that can lead to mildew. This is why fabric conservationists will use special acid-free archival-quality wrappings to protect their textiles.

Consult with our expert team

For more information on how Restore Records can support you with our Heritage Storage solution and expert services, or if you would like to take a tour of the historic Cold War airbase, please get in touch with Michael Watts, Senior Manager Heritage Sector michael.watts@restore.co.uk

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