We receive conservation inquiries from visitors who want to learn how to take care of their own textiles. A rare antique collectable, a treasured family heirloom, a favourite item of clothing or home décor–all have challenges to safe care. We also receive requests for information about general museum conservation. We have collected some of our favourite resources for our visitors. This list should not be considered exhaustive:
The Canadian Conservation Institute is a federal institution that has a variety of information related to museum conservation and preservation on their website. Specifically, CCI Notes are small bulletins that discuss a variety of object care issues, from how to properly roll textiles to the effects of the environment on historical objects.
The National Parks Service in the United States has a similar resource called Conserve O Grams. If you are looking for more specific information or are interested in how museums care for their objects, have a look at the NPS Museum Handbook, Part 1: Museum Collections.
The Costume Committee for the international conservation body ICOM has compiled an excellent web workbook covering many aspects of caring for and working with costume, lace, and other textiles. It is also a good resource to assist you if you are trying to identify a piece of “mystery” clothing you have inherited that you’re not sure how to look after it.
There are several useful books subject conservation, ranging from beginner’s guides to from to texts containing in-depth information on textile conservation. A few examples include:
Preserving Textiles: A Guide for the Nonspecialist by Harold F. Mailand and Dorothy Stites Alig. Published by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The Textile Conservator’s Manual, Second Ed. By Sheila Landi. Published by Butterworth-Heinemann.
Unravelling Textiles: A Handbook for the Preservation of Textile Collections by A. Brokerhof, Foekje Boersma, and S. Van Den Berg. Published by Archetype Books.
Laundry: The Whys and Hows of Cleaning Clothes by Robert Doyle. Published by Sartorial Press.
Some of these titles are available for reference in the Museum’s H.N. Pullar Library or are for sale in the Museum Shop.