I've had difficulty finding a career mentor in the archives/preservation field because of a lack of local resources and the fact that I obtained my Masters degree online, which was rather 'alienating' and didn't really allow for the kind of student-professor relationship that blooms into recommendation letters and networking. Are there ways of seeking out (real, committed) mentors either online, or in my area (northern Virginia/Washington DC), preferably involving me providing volunteer work? [more inside]
My favorite part of museums these days are the visible storage units. My favorite part of natural history museums are old-fashioned drawers filled with air-tight cases. I want to know more about the history and practice of storing/preserving art objects, paintings, sculpture, textiles, etc. What books/websites should I be reading to find out more? The more weirdly medium specific and detailed the better. Strange anecdotes very much welcome.
What can you tell me about the field(s) of museum/historical society registrars/collections, preservation, and digital preservation? In a few years, I want to go back to work in a new career, and these have recently crossed my radar. [more inside]
I have inherited several memoirs and other paper documents produced by family members before the digital age made document creation, storage, and dissemination so easy and extensive. What's the best way to make sure these documents survive and are accessible to those who might be interested in them? [more inside]
I need to clean an expensive white Oscar de la Renta skirt suit that's lined in taffeta/tulle; it has some faint smudging here and there on the thick reverse silk-satin fabric. I wouldn't trust a normal dry cleaner with this, and don't know where else to go. Alex's seems exorbitant and gets awful reviews; Peninou seems doubtful as well; and I read somewhere about Crystal in San Mateo but don't have much to go on. Does anyone know a cleaner (preferably in San Francisco, but I can drive elsewhere if necessary) who works with designer items, maybe wedding gowns, who would know how to work with tricky white silk fabric? Many thanks!
I came across my late father's Navy seabag in the garage, where it has been sitting for at least 40 years. It was issued to him in the late 50s or early 60s and appears to be plain canvas. (I understand newer ones are plastic-lined.) I'd like to clean the bag and bring it inside the house for use. How can I clean 40 years of garage dust and crud from the bag without damaging it, particularly his stenciled name on the exterior?
To those who have kept a journal for more than, say, 20 years, how do you manage the physical (or electronic) output? What methods of organisation and preservation have stood the test of time for you? What should I be doing now so that in 20 years I'm not buried by paper or files?
What is the best way to preserve a tinned fruitcake. [more inside]
I've had this painting for many years. It belonged to my grandfather. He owned an antiques store and he traveled a lot in China. I'm not sure where it came from/how he obtained it. [more inside]
How do I preserve this stinky turtle carapace? [more inside]
Suggestions for identifying people in home movies for future generations? [more inside]
I need your best salsa recipes suitable for canning. [more inside]
I have a few thousand pages of documentation I'd like to digitize and organize, eventually making a series of PDFs out of them. Can you help me make this task less painful? [more inside]
How to learn historic rehabilitation? I'm interested in the historic home curatorship program in Massachusetts. Essentially, you take over a home owned by the state and rehabilitate it without having to pay rent. However, to be successful, you really need to have lots of skills related to construction and historic curatorship. I'd like to acquire this skills, any tips on how to do it?
A LOT of fresh basil - now what? [more inside]
In about two weeks time, Stockholm city will cut down one of the oldest oak trees in the city. How to preserve a leaf? [more inside]
I have a TwinLock Crown binder made in the UK dating from 1950. I would very much like to open it, remove the pages, scan them, and replace them. However, although it looks like it can be opened, the binding mechanism is entirely obscured by the binding itself. There is a metal tab at the top near the front, but it doesn't seem to move, and I'm hesitant to put pressure on it since I don't know in what direction that pressure should be applied, and I'd rather leave it closed than break it. How can I do this; is it even possible? [more inside]
I bought this book when it was first published, because I was and still am knocked out by the beauty of the (very many, very well reproduced) watercolor illustrations. Now at long last I see that the pages have begun to go brown at the edges. The discoloration hasn't reached any of the illustrations yet but it will, it will, and I dread it. I am tempted to remove the pages from the cover boards (even though that would involve razoring the endpapers at the hinges) and cut the threads binding the signatures together so that I can get the pages absolutely flat on my scanner and scan them into a form that won't go brown ever. How big a deal would it be to get a bindery to put the book back together correctly after I desecrate it? What might it cost? Gentle Reader, What Would You Do?
How to preserve photos from scrapbook that was kept in very suboptimal conditions? [more inside]
My family has a collection of 35 lantern slides dating from the 1880-90's. They are black & white photographic images, with some handcolored. They are in reasonably good condition and I would like to somehow transfer them into a digital format. Is it OK to lay these on a scanner, or will strong light exposure risk damaging the slide images? Is there a better way to photograph or reproduce the images? [more inside]
A large hardcover collection of Little Nemo comic strips I bought cheaply turned out to be very valuable. What's the best way to preserve it so, if I decide to sell it, its still worth its full value? I live in a small apartment full of dust and bugs. I currently have it on a top bookshelf sitting in a plastic bag.
Two questions. How do I write a last will and testament when it involves those I know across the internet? And, how do I ensure that certain...eccentric requests involving my funeral and/or body be carried out? [more inside]
Looking for cool and unique ideas about what to do with tickets, boarding passes, photos, etc. from a trip. [more inside]
A friend of mine drew an illustration of my son on our office whiteboard. We are moving offices shortly, and I'd like this illustration preserved. [more inside]
What's the best way to find a career in historical preservation/art restoration from where I am now? [more inside]
I have a large amount of family letters, photos, and documents dating from the late 1800s to the 2000s, with most ranging from the 1930s to the 1960s. Some are in fair condition, and I'd like preserve them for future generations. Most are in English, but there's a smattering of Hebrew and French, neither of which I can read. My questions inside. [more inside]
How can I develop a plan to help a small community organization organize its archival materials (something like a self-accessioning plan, I guess)? What should I read? Who should I talk to? [more inside]
I'm looking for tips and best practices for scanning the contents of my grandmother's scrapbook. [more inside]
I'm preparing for a massive personal archiving/interviewing trip with my grandparents and need advice regarding many aspects of the project. [more inside]
Another "safe to eat" question, this one about tofu. [more inside]
We want to freeze vegetables for the winter. Here's the trick: we don't want to use a refrigerator. [more inside]
What kind of grad program should I go to if I'm interested in the preservation of digital media archives? Museum studies? Information science? Something else entirely? [more inside]
How do I preserve velvety photo album covers? [more inside]
I have a big box of very old papers (and other things) I'd like to preserve in a way that facilitates viewing. What's a good way to go about this? [more inside]
Can mold grow on food packed in oil? [more inside]
Where can I find an cool old house to move onto a lot? [more inside]
Strange as it might sound, I am compiling a list of rooms. I am eager to draw upon the travels, explorations, and creative minds of metafilter to help flesh out the list. [more inside]
How do I prevent cheap metal jewelry from tarnishing? I have a couple of necklaces that I adore, and while they weren't dirt cheap, they are not made of the finest of metals. They have changed color somewhat - are brassy in places, and one looks almost like it could be rusting? - and I would like to recoat them. Is this possible? [more inside]
How should I store these 20-year old cassette tapes with historic value? [more inside]
What is Paleobond, and can I get a MUCH cheaper substitute? [more inside]
I need to do some highly sophisticated pitch-correction on some old reel-to-reel recordings. What software to use? [more inside]
How to best preserve pages taken from old issues of *Fantasy and Science Fiction*, a book-sized literary magazine printed on newsprint? [more inside]
What should I do with old family documents? [more inside]
For at least 25 years, my grandmother had a table cloth which every person who visited her house signed, and their signature was embroidered onto the cloth. Now my family is looking for a way to preserve and display it. Any cool ideas? [more inside]
I got a lamb skull from the supermarket (complete with meat) and I'm looking for the best way to remove all the non-bone parts and then preserve the bone for an art project. [more inside]
My father passed away recently and in going through his papers, etc. I have come across a large array of letters, receipts, bills, and various photos. I want to preserve these in some sort of scrapbook form, with the emphasis on preservation rather than scrapbooking cuteness, but accessible and respectful nonetheless. What site should I visit for advice, guidance and inspiration?
How do I safely flatten old diplomas? I have two diplomas from 1927 and 1931 that I'd like to frame. They were rolled up in a box with other items for many decades. They are a little squished (but not creased), and they want to retain their rolled up squishedness. Both are printed on a heavyish material with a plasticy feel and a slight sheen; I don't know if it is imitation vellum, or actual animal skin. The documents are from the Mary Institute at Washington University at St. Louis (1927) and Mt. Holyoke (1931) if that helps.
Where can I buy preserved lemon in the SF Bay Area? [more inside]
The third floor of my neighbor's home was made into a children's playroom many years ago and hasn't been touched since. There's very interesting (and possibly offensive) handpainted artwork on the (plaster) walls he would like to preserve, but hasn't a clue how to do it or who to talk to for advice. How should he proceed?
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