The National Archives (UK) posted a piece titled The gloves are off which talks about how more and more patrons are being asked to NOT wear white gloves as they examine documents and other textual materials. We are much less likely to cause damage with clean and dry bare hands than with gloves. As a person with small hands, I do have to say that I am incredibly clumsy when wearing gloves of any kind – my fingers don’t often reach the tips, I lose dexterity and I can’t seem to keep a grip on anything!
One exception is photographs where oils and sweat can greatly damage the surface. Otherwise clean and dry hands is often the way to go. Do read all the various comments post in response as they are full of really neat information.
What do you think? Gloves on or off when we handle historic textual materials?
Read more about this at:
- The Myth of Wearing White Gloves (Dick Eastman, EOGN)
- Misperceptions about White Gloves (International Preservation News, 2005 – seminal article referenced in both cited blog posts)
Editor’s Note: Always check the policies of any particular archives. Follow their stated rules. If you are unsure about what to do, ask an archivist!
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