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Temporary Storage System for Flat, Brittle Fiber Objects


This storage system is designed to temporarily house fragile, brittle objects (for example, Pacific fiber skirts). It is an inexpensive interim storage system, it makes use of existing materials. It is an adaptive use of old, outmoded drawers and illustrates that the storage environment can be improved temporarily until optimal storage is available.

This design provides a protective dust and light-free storage system that can be transported safely during a multi-phase collection move.



Diana H. Dicus
Textiles and Objects Conservation
Pacific Regional Cons. Ctr.
Bishop Museum
Box 19000-A
Honolulu, HI 96817 USA
Tel (808) 848-4113
Fax (808) 841-8968

Linda W.F. Hee
Textiles and Objects Conservation
Pacific Regional Cons. Ctr.
Bishop Museum
Box 19000-A
Honolulu, HI 96817 USA
Tel (808) 848-4113
Fax (808) 841-8968

Photographs: Linda W.F. Hee

Publication: 1992



To provide an acid barrier, each drawer is lined with a sheet of pH neutral lining paper. Depending on the amount of support needed, the object may be laid directly on the lining paper or on a sheet of neutral board covered with lining paper. The paper or board support is used to transfer the object to the final storage system (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Fiber skirts, supported on paper-based boards, are stacked in paper-lined drawers.

If the drawer is deep enough to hold two objects, polyethylene foam plank strips are placed around the edge of the drawer to support a second layer of neutral board (Fig. 2). The second layer supports another object in the drawer.

Figure 2. Polyethylene foam plank strips are used as spacers and to support the paper board.

The drawers may be stacked in the current storage room, to be transported to more secure locations as cases are moved out of the room into the new storage area (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Drawers are temporarily stored on mobile rack units.

Materials Tools Supplies

  • 100% cotton twill tape
  • Heavy pH neutral lining paper, 26in x 40in sheet
  • pH neutral paper board, with foam core 40in x 60in sheets
  • pH neutral tissue paper
  • Polyethylene foam plank, 2ft x 4ft x 2in
  • Storage cabinet drawers
  • Utility knife and blades


  1. Measure drawer dimensions.
  2. Measure length, width, and height of the object.
  3. Determine the best position to place each object.
  4. Measure lining paper for each drawer and cut to fit.
  5. If two objects are to be placed in one drawer, leave space around all four sides of the first object in the drawer to place the polyethylene foam plank strips that will hold the neutral paper board support for the second object.
  6. Measure and cut four polyethylene foam plank strips 11/2in x object height plus 1/4in, with a utility knife.
  7. Place the polyethylene foam plank strips around the inner perimeter of the drawer so that they do not rest on, or crush the first object.
  8. Cut pH neutral board to the inner drawer dimensions and place it on the polyethylene foam plank strips.
  9. Attach cotton twill tabs to the back of the pH neutral paper board or cut finger indentations into the foam strips to facilitate access to the first object.
  10. Cover the board with pH neutral paper and place the object on top.
  11. Cut lining paper to the inside drawer dimensions and place it on top of the object. The paper will act as the dust and light cover for the drawer.
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