Museum hosts preservation program

Sweetwater County Historical Museum Curator Amanda Benson hosted a workshop Saturday, the latest in her series, “Protecting Our Precious Possessions.”

At the Broadway Theater in Rock Springs, Benson talked about preservation and storage of pop culture objects, including comic books, trading cards, vintage toys, and vinyl records. Such collectibles can be quite valuable and, like any investment, deserve proper care.

Among the tips and information she imparted were environmental considerations, the fact that cardboard boxes are among the worst choices for storage containers, and a phenomenon called “off-gassing.”

Off-gassing occurs when objects in your home, such as leather furniture, old books, new carpeting, or fresh paint, give off a “new car” or “old book” smell that, while often pleasant, can be a problem for your collection. These odors occur when items like these release volatile organic compounds and other chemicals into the air, increasing the acidity of their surrounding environment over time. This is part of the natural degradation process but steps can be taken to mitigate the severity of off-gassing. One simple change is to keep collectibles like comic books and baseball cards away from cardboard (an off-gassing material) and store them in acid-free boxes or #2 and #5 plastics, which are chemically stable and do not off-gas.

More “Protecting Our Precious Possessions” workshops are being planned. Monitor the museum’s website, Facebook page, and local media outlets for announcements about future presentations.


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