Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wear gloves for rare collection items? Rarely.

According to the British Museum (who should know):
"We recommend that people do not wear gloves when handling collection items unless they are touching certain vulnerable surfaces such as un-protected photographs, lead seals or the surface of a globe.

Instead we prefer people to ensure that they have clean, dry hands. There are several reasons for this. Gloves can blunt touch and make people less manually dextrous as they cannot feel the item that they are handling. This can cause them to grab at the item they are viewing or to hold it too firmly. This can actually increase rather than minimise the risk of damage to the item.

It is also very difficult to turn or lift pages with gloved hands. We have recently filmed a series of short videos which demonstrate the best way to handle and use different types of collection items.

This includes a video entitled 'Using Gloves with Collection items' which demonstrates how difficult it is to turn or lift pages with gloved hands. These videos can be viewed on our website by following this link.

Lastly gloves can also catch on loose pigments or fibres as well as picking up and transferring dust."

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