Friday, May 4, 2007

Today's Random Curator Tips:

I completely understand. You were sitting on the couch last night, eating your teriyaki chicken-salad, when the urge hit you like a rogue piano launched from a clown convention. "I want to know some random curator tips!" you called out, mouth agape and dripping ginger sauce. But you couldn't leave the TV, of course. After all, re-runs of "Cop Rock" were on, and no force on earth could make you miss that. Never fear, I am here to help - here are some random curator tips to quench that fiery and unbending urge:

- Keep your photos and other prize documents out of direct sunlight. Think of them as little vampires, hissing when they are in contact with sunlight. Light is one of the biggest enemies in the artifact world. In most homes, it is impractical (and silly) to shift your good furniture and decorations around to avoid sunlight - but if you have some cherished photos, framed documents, or other easily moved items - maybe take a minute to move them to a less bright area - they will thank you (possibly in tiny little voices).

- Keep the good stuff out of the attic. As my friend Mike says, there are two types of people in the world - those that make sweeping generalizations, and those who do not. Similarly, some of us are pack-rats, and some of us throw away last year's cellphone. At any rate, non-insulated attics are notorious for high temperatures and wild humidity fluctuation. If you can help it, keep your best items in an inside closet or similar place that benefits from your normal household air control.

- If someone is selling an "antique" chair or similar piece, turn it over and look for arced marks in the wood (from a circular saw). This is true for many types of wood furniture. Circular saws were generally not used in furniture-making before the late 1800s.

- To frame or not to frame. Was that last sentence cheesy? The answer is no, considering I could have said "15 minutes of frame." Anyway, here is the short answer: framing is good for most 2-d items, IF taken to a proper, reputable shop that knows what they are doing. Translation: you have to shell out the money. But to save the 110 year-old picture of old man Bagenworthenstein looking particularly grim, it is worth it.

Okay, that's enough for now. Now go forth, young grasshoppers, and curate away!

(Note: please do not place Teriyaki chicken on antique wood)


Autumn Schubert said...

As always, very interesting! Thanks for the great info and the tidbits of humor!

Devon said...

Cool Curating Tips! Although I now have a hankering for some chicken teryaki.

Sunlight can be so destructive. My sunday paper gets yellowed by the time I pick it out of my flowerbed in the morning.

Just wait until the magnetic field decides to go away...

Anniina said...

Great tips! I dream of the day when I can have a library room with just the perfect dimness, book cabinets with UV-coated glass doors, and temperature and humidity controls. I remember going to visit Yale once and seeing their libraries' manuscript and rare book rooms left me with a perpetual hollow place inside me. I need to go forth and amass a fortune, to make this dream a reality someday. Can you picture it? I'll call it the Anniina Pierpont-Morgan library, tehee!

Jarod said...

Autumn - Thanks!
Devon - True. The only thing that might save our papers from being prematurely yellowed is the 100 foot deep ocean water covering them.
Anniina - You can do it!!

LisaBinDaCity said...

"Cop Rock" is still on the air? Now that's scary ;-)

Thanks for the tips!!!

Jarod said...

Lisa - Heheh, remember that travesty? What were they thinking?