Blocking Light

by | May 10, 2024 | Articles

Hi, this is Rose at the Coe. One exciting project we have going on right now is putting light-blocking material over some of the shelves that get more sunlight to prevent any light damage to these objects. As you can see behind me, there are shelves with beautiful baskets that have dye that could potentially fade if exposed to sunlight.

Because of how our HVAC system is set up and where the thermostats are, the door to this room has to be slightly open. Our solution is to put this light-blocking fabric over these baskets so that any light coming in through the door gets blocked and doesn’t reach the pieces. These are secured with Velcro on the top, making them easy to take down when visitors are here, ensuring the objects are both visible and safe from light damage.

Today, we’re discussing different objects and what agents of deterioration might affect them the most. Baskets like these are particularly susceptible to fading from light. Over time, any dye on most baskets will gradually fade unless kept in a very dark place. The inside of a basket is usually brighter than the outside because it’s exposed to less light. Humidity can also affect how brittle the materials become. If it dries out too much, it gets more brittle. Therefore, in dry areas, it’s essential to be gentle when handling baskets.

When picking up baskets, always hold them from underneath and avoid lifting them by the rim, decorations, or handles, as these parts are often fragile. Insects are also a concern with anything made from organic materials, although a basket like this is less likely to be damaged by insects than a quillwork item that contains animal protein.

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