Handling textiles, furniture, ceramics and glass objects

Handling textiles and costumes

  • Examine object for areas of fragility before moving
  • Support evenly across the length of the item, using a tray or custom support where possible
  • Never pick up a costume by the shoulders
  • If carrying a costume on a hanger, support its length by draping over arms
  • If carrying a rolled textile, carry using the areas of the roller which extend beyond the length of the textile

Handling furniture

  • Do not lift the object using any protruding part of the furniture, the chair arms or its back, or the table top
  • Remove drawers and/or secure opening parts with cotton ties
  • Secure doors with cotton ties or lock them
  • Place keys in labelled bags and keep them in a safe place
  • Remove any loose fittings such as finials or glass tops and wrap and move separately
  • Lift chairs using the seat rail by placing hands under the seat
  • Lift tables from the legs or supporting rails

Handling metals

  • Use nitrile gloves to prevent tarnishing/corrosion from the oils in your hands

Handling ceramics and glass

  • Remove lids
  • Use disposable surgical gloves (commonly nitrile); cotton gloves make it hard to get a secure grip on slippery surfaces

You might also like …

Connecting to Collections, Objects Handling Basics, 2013 – useful discussion about when to wear gloves and what type to choose.

Heritage & Libraries Branch, Ontario Ministry of Culture, Museum Note #6: Handling Museum Objects, 2005

National Parks Service, Museum Handbook, Chapter 6: Handling, Packing and Shipping, 1999