Do any of you remember the scene from Mommy Dearest, where Joan Crawford throws a fit because she finds a wire hanger in her daughter’s closet?
Here’s a little something to jog your memory:
While I promise not to “have a cow” like Joan in the film, I do want to stress the importance of proper textile storage in museum collections. And, since this is Museum Minute, this will be short and sweet.
If an item of clothing is strong enough to remain on a hanger, it needs to be sufficiently padded with proper “archival” materials. In other words, “no wire hangers!!”
Fun Fact: I put “archival” in quotations because there are no requirements in place to advertise something as “archival.” But, I continue to use the term because it’s an easy way to refer to the wide variety of materials that are sufficient for long-term artifact preservation.
To make a simple, padded hanger, you’ll need:
1. A metal or untreated wooden hanger
2. 100% Polyester batting (from the craft store)
3. Unbleached cotton muslin and thread
You can, of course, turn your normal padded hangers into super hangers by wrapping the hanger in Tyvek(R) and washing the cloth in Orvus, but for some simple hanger directions, click below:
This is fun activity for volunteers or interns to do, and can really help preserve your hanging textiles. Why don’t you help out your local museum or historical society by hosting a Hanger Bee?
And, last but not least, here’s a photo of me <gulp> eight years ago, modeling some freshly-made hangers at the Amherst Museum: