Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gown Preservation

The preservation method preferred by museum conservators is the Museum Box Storage Method used at Margaret’s Cleaners. All materials used in this preservation process are not only acid-free but also of true archival-quality. This means the chest and tissue are also lignin-free, which prevents them from turning acidic and yellowing the gown. For additional protection, an unbleached muslin fabric liner is used as well. An outer muslin bag adds extra protection and keeps the box dust-free during storage. With white gloves and care, the box can be periodically opened, the gown inspected and refolded without voiding the warranty.

In selecting a reputable preservation specialist to preserve your gown, look for one with a great deal of experience. Your gown specialist should have been performing preservation as a major emphasis for a number of years. Also, the entire process should be performed directly by them, and not by a third party that you will never meet. Their in-house processing capabilities should include hand cleaning as well as immersion techniques. Never trust your gown to a cleaner who sends it out to a wholesaler for preservation. Another important thing to ask is if finished gowns are rinsed in a virgin solution to flush any cleaning agents that remain after hand cleaning. Also be sure to ask if they provide an anti-sugar treatment. An international/lifetime warranty should be offered at no extra cost.
When should you have your gown cleaned and preserved? It is best to bring it in (or have it picked up) within a week or two after your wedding, before any stains have set! Many stains, invisible at the time, cause problems later. If you have a gown that was not preserved (or incorrectly preserved) and has yellowed, restoration is often possible. Many experienced preservationists are also certified in restoration techniques