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How to Display, Clean And Care 
For Your Basket Collection

Keeping your basketry collection in the best possible condition and preserving its value for generations to come is possible if you follow these steps.

Difficulty Level: average      Time Required:


Here's How:

  1. Choose the proper environment for the display of your baskets.
  2. Avoid high light levels. Excessive light can cause fading and deterioration of organic materials.
  3. Avoid excessive humidity. Humidity can cause mold and fungus and may encourage the propagation of insects.
  4. Extreme dryness can also be detrimental. Provide an environment with stable, moderate relative humidity.
  5. Reduce the chance that pests become a threat to your collection by eliminating food residues.
  6. Visually inspect each basket regularly for damage caused by insects or other pests. Isolate any piece that has recent damage until the source of the damage is identified and corrected.
  7. Avoid display of baskets in a kitchen area or above a wood stove. Dust, in combination with air borne grease or combustion residue can be especially destructive.
  8. Addition of oils and varnishes are not recommended because they alter the original surface and can become sticky.
  9. Vacuum baskets occasionally to remove surface dust. Secure an old nylon stocking or piece of nylon net over the end of the vacuum nozzle. Use a soft artist’s brush to sweep dust towards the vacuum.
  10. Handle your baskets carefully to avoid breakage. Be sure your hands are clean and lotion-free. Use white cotton gloves when handling highly valuable pieces.
  11. Document the origin of each piece and keep a written record.
  12. When displaying your baskets mount each piece securely and change the surface it rests on regularly.
  13. Rotating the display, changing the baskets that are out, with others that have been safely stored away, will limit their exposure to deteriorating factors.
  14. Archival-quality storage boxes and wrapping tissue should be use for long term storage.
  15. Repairing damage to a basket can actually reduce its value and should only be done after careful consideration.

Tips:

  1. To eliminate mold on a basket place it in a sealed plastic bag and put it in the freezer for 48 hours. Brush off any residue outside and be certain the basket is dry before returning it to its place in the display.
  2. Washing baskets is in most cases not a recommended approach to cleaning. This advice is frequently offered, but can result in disastrous consequences.
  3. Seek the help of a well qualified conservation professional for any basket with exceptional value.

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