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Subject: Storing matches

Storing matches

From: Ellin Burke <eburke>
Date: Monday, June 24, 2002
Christine Cheffins <christinecheffins [at] monmouthshire__gov__uk> writes

>We have some boxes of "strike anywhere" or non safety matches in our
>social history collection.  They are "Pioneer Household" and Bryant
>and May's "England's Glory".  Does anyone have any information about
>how they should be stored safely?

Last year we received a gift of 32 matchbooks and boxes of matches
from the great era of 1940-1960 NYC nightclubs.  After investigating
several "fire proof" safes, we decided that the best way to protect
our collection--and indeed our 1930's wood building--was to remove
the sulfur.  We felt that if there was a spontaneous combustion due
to heat build up in the safe, the fire could be contained, but we
would lose the matchbooks. We did this by cutting the tips off the
paper ones, and by wetting the tips of the wooden ones, and then
scraping it off.

We realized that in a strict conservation sense we conducted a
non-reversible act, but we had to weigh those issues against the
dangers to the objects themselves, and our entire collection.  We
viewed it as removing any other danger to objects in the collection;
ie: mold, infestation or chemical contamination.

Ellin Burke
Collections Manager
The Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10029

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:3
                  Distributed: Thursday, June 27, 2002
                        Message Id: cdl-16-3-003
Received on Monday, 24 June, 2002

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