Creating a good environment to store your Civil War artifacts in is an important aspect of preserving your treasures. There are certain things that you need to be aware of when storing your artifacts because each artifact responds differently depending on the environment where it is kept. Paper and textile artifacts are especially sensitive to moisture and temperature changes. Paper and textile will physically respond to humidity and temperature change, thus affecting the condition and value of the artifact.
The wrong environmental conditions will have a negative effect on your artifact. Certain conditions may create harmful chemical reactions, encourage the growth of mold, and increase the activity and presence of insects in and around your artifacts. Visible signs of damage, including cockling, which is the distortion and rippling of paper, warping in book covers, for example, or foxing, which is when reddish-brown spots start to appear on textile and paper. Avoiding damages is simple.
There are a number of safe places to store your artifacts. You can store your artifacts under a bed as long as everything is kept covered and in a box. You could also store artifacts on high shelves in finished basements because finished basements have a more controlled temperature and humidity level. Do not use high shelves if they are placed alongside exterior concrete walls. If you have smaller boxes of artifacts, then you could keep those at the back of a bookshelf or in a closet that is built within interior walls.
Susan M. Taylor is a Civil War artifact and art collector.