Flying Nun Foundation


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Also check out Dr Michael Brown’s excellent blogpost on preservation recently added to our News Page.

Plus Martin Phillippssorting tips -


Posters, artwork & photographs

Artworks on paper might be watercolours, inks, pencil , charcoal, or prints, such as etchings, engravings and lithographs silk screening and commercial printing.


Don’t touch the surface of any picture. Paper absorbs skin oils & perspiration - wash your hands before touching any type of artwork (valuable or not). Use gloves if you want.
When handling loose artworks, use both hands, support them from underneath or place them in a folder (acid-free).
When carrying framed works, hold the frame by both sides.

Do not use pressure-sensitive tapes such as Sellotape & masking tape, or glues such as PVA (white adhesive) or rubber cement to mend or mount artworks When cleaning or mending is necessary, get advice from a conservator who is a member of the New Zealand Professional Conservators' Group.


Pictures should be kept in a dark, clean, dry location with adequate air circulation. Temperature and humidity levels should be moderate and constant.
Ideally, unframed pictures should be matted and stored flat. Loose items may be kept in folders and interleaved with acid-free tissue paper to separate them from each other and to protect the surfaces from abrasion.

Works with a fragile or delicate surface, such as unfixed charcoal or chalk drawings, should not be kept in folders. Anything touching the surface of these works could damage them. Framing provides the best protection for these items.
Framed works in storage should not rest directly on the floor. If shelving is not available, raise the frames off the floor by resting them on padded blocks.

Avoid rolling oversized artworks. If this is the only option, roll the artwork onto a large diameter tube covered with an appropriate barrier layer of archival material (eg Tyvek or Mylar). Use an interleaving material, such as acid-free tissue, to cover the artwork before rolling it around the tube, to stop two parts of the work from touching each other directly once rolled.

Matting, Framing & Displaying

Artworks should be matted and framed for display. go here for detailed information
more on photographs can be found here
and more information on conservators here

Sound Recordings

Sound recordings may start to deteriorate within a few years if they are not cared for. Here are things you can do to preserve them.


Most sound recordings are likely to be on disc or tape. Discs include compact discs (CDs) and grooved recordings (records). Grooved recordings include 45s and LPs made from vinyl and 78s made from shellac.

Tapes include cassettes, reel-to-reel recordings and videos. These are often referred to as magnetic tapes as they contain a plastic film coated with magnetic material.

Handling recordings

Handling is a major cause of damage to sound recordings, it is important that they are handled as little and as gently as possible.

CDs and DVDs

Handle CDs and DVDs carefully, as flexing, bending or applying pressure will cause damage. Be aware that both sides of a disc are vulnerable .


Handle records by their outer edge only. Avoid flexing or bending them or applying any pressure. The grooves on records are easily scratched and even tiny scratches cause hissing and crackling when the record is played.


The surface and edge of the tape in cassettes and videos is easily damaged and so the tape itself should never be touched.

It is important to handle reel-to-reel tapes by the centre or hub. Reel-to-reel tapes are more at risk than other tapes, as they are not protected by a case.

Playing tapes

Repeated use of tapes will cause wear and damage. Handle and play original recordings as little as possible.

Avoid pausing tapes as this causes stress and damage to the tape. Going from rewind to fast forward without pushing stop will also cause tension and damage.

Store cassettes and videotapes in a fully rewound state to avoid creating tension at one point of the tape.

Storing sound recordings

Sound recordings are damaged by dust, heat, light, moisture and magnetic fields. The best place to keep them is somewhere cool, dark, dry and well ventilated, such as a cupboard or shelf.

Keep sound recordings:

  • off the floor

  • where they will not be constantly handled or disturbed

  • away from light, heat strong magnetic fields and water.

A collection can be heavy, make sure they are stored on strong and secure shelving and foundations.

CDs and DVDs

with to them.

Store CD cases upright in the same way books are stored on a shelf. Storing discs flat will cause them to warp over time. Store discs in the dark, as they are light can damage them.

Check discs for damage at least once a year. Look for any of the layers coming apart in the disc itself and check that you can still play the disc.

Label discs with their contents. Having a lot of discs that are not labelled increases the risk of them being lost or excessively handled. The outside case can be easily labelled. Be careful when labelling the discs themselves, as they are easily damaged.


  • use self-adhesive (sticky) labels

  • use a pen or pencil, as the pressure of writing will cause damage

  • write on the recordable side of the disc

  • use a marker that has a strong smell, it probably contains a solvent.

Label discs with a water based permanent marker. Write on the label side of the disc in the centre, the area where the laser does not read.


Store records in their sleeves standing up like books. They should be on a sturdy shelf and should be neither tight packed nor slumping.

If records are in cellophane sleeves, or the original sleeves are damaged, replace them with acid-free paper sleeves (available from conservation suppliers).


Store tapes upright. Laying them flat will cause the tape to become distorted. Avoid stacking tapes one on top of the other, as this creates a lot of weight and
will damage those at the bottom.

Each tape should be in an individual box and both the tape and the box should be labelled with the contents of the recording. Ensure cassettes and videos are stored fully rewound.

Magnetic fields can erase the content from tapes. Store tapes away from anything that can create magnetic forces, including TV sets, computers and other electrical appliances.

Caring for sound equipment

Equipment used to listen to and produce sound recordings needs to be kept in good working condition. Be gentle with your recording and playback equipment and follow manufacturers’ instructions when it comes to care and cleaning.

Copying sound recordings

Go here for more details on recording or digitising, and more.

This information was all found at the National Library site

*acid-free tissue can be found at most art supply shops selling paper - Gordon Harris is good