Repackaging heritage textiles

Here in the archives we work hard to give all the records the best possibly chance of survival in the future. We repackage into acid-free boxes, follow careful handling guidelines – and even wear the white gloves so beloved by television historians from time to time!

This week we’ve been working with the Rugby League, whose collection is deposited here at the University Archives, to provide advice on handling and packaging a collection that they have recently purchased as part of their heritage work.

As the Rugby League’s new collection includes a lot of shirts (so fans of heritage shirts should watch this space for news of exhibitions!) we spent some time developing a packaging system which would follow good practice guidelines for packaging textiles, but also allow the shirts to fit in the collection’s standard boxes. After a little experimentation we came up with a method which is reasonably straightforward to carry out, using acid-free tissue and a series of folds that ensure that a layer of tissue is placed between all of the folds in the shirt. We then created a step by step photo guide to allow the heritage project assistant to carry out the repackaging unsupervised.

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