Exciting Happenings in the History Collections: 9 New Textile Cabinets!

Stainless steel cabinets allow us to better preserve textiles.

Stainless steel cabinets allow us to better preserve textiles.

The Ohio History Connection’s history curators are thrilled to announce the arrival of 9 new stainless steel cabinets! These cabinets will rehouse a portion of our clothing collection that has been stored for nearly 40 years in  wooden cabinets with muslin coverings. While the wooden cabinets have allowed us to hang clothing and protect it from dust—two very important components of textile preservation—the steel cabinets are a huge improvement. The sealed doors will keep mice and other pests out of the clothing, and steel, unlike wood, is acid-free and will not discolor or otherwise damage fabric that comes into contact with it.

Hanging textiles are temporarily stored on rolling racks and on poles in the hanging flag rack.

Hanging textiles are temporarily stored on rolling racks and on poles in the hanging flag rack.

The acquisition and installation of these cabinets was no small feat. The cost of the cabinets was particularly prohibitive; a generous bequest specifically for collections storage made purchasing these 9 cabinets possible. In preparation for the new cabinets, the textiles in the old cabinets and the boxes of objects on top of them had to be moved to temporary locations. Each object’s catalog number, old location, and new temporary location had to be documented. It took the history curators, registrars, and an intern working together over the course of two weeks to accomplish all of this. Clothing was hung on poles in our hanging flag storage rack and on rolling racks, and boxed items were placed on large carts throughout the warehouse.

History Curator Cliff Eckle maneuvers the cabinets with a forklift.

History Curator Cliff Eckle maneuvers the cabinets with a forklift.

Getting the cabinets into the building proved more difficult than we had anticipated. The delivery truck was too large to back up to our loading dock, so we unloaded the truck in the middle of our complex using a forklift. With the help of archaeologists and members of the history services division, we chiseled the ice off of our ramp and pulled and pushed the cabinets inside using a pallet jack. Once inside, we pushed the cabinets into place and unwrapped and leveled them.

Manuscripts Processing Assistant Adria Seccareccia chisels ice from the warehouse ramp.

Manuscripts Processing Assistant Adria Seccareccia chisels ice from the warehouse ramp.

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The cabinets enter the warehouse with the help of a pallet jack and willing volunteers.

Manuscripts Curator Matt Benz and Assistant Curator of Archaeology Bill Pickard use a pallet jack to move a cabinet.

Manuscripts Curator Matt Benz and Assistant Curator of Archaeology Bill Pickard use a pallet jack to move a cabinet.

History Curator Emily Lang removes the wrapping from the new cabinets.

History Curator Emily Lang removes the wrapping from the new cabinets.

History Curator Becky Odom inspects the new cabinets.

History Curator Becky Odom inspects the new cabinets.

Now that we have our beautiful new cabinets, we will begin moving the textiles from their temporary racks to their new homes. Again, we will document each object, its current temporary location, and its new permanent location. Now all we need is about 25 more of these cabinets, and we’ll have the whole civilian textile collection rehoused!

Becky Odom, History Curator

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