Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection
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illustrationPreservation of Artifacts
The largest part of the collection is the group of commemorative glass and ceramic plates, drinking glasses, metal trays, plaques, busts, statues, clocks, vases, coins, ribbons and buttons. The artifacts were carefully unpacked and sorted by type (ceramic, glass, metal, wood, and plastic), and by size. This was the first time in decades that the entire group of artifacts could be safely viewed and assessed. Little breakage was noted, owing to the fact that many artifacts remained inaccessible and untouched for so many years. Many artifacts show evidence of use and most have some surface dirt. The ceramic and glass artifacts are frail with chips or hairline fractures; and some metals show minor corrosion.

All artifacts were gently cleaned with a non-abrasive dusting cloth and surveyed for condition concerns requiring the attention of an objects conservator.“Flat” artifacts like plates, trays, plaques, were stored by size and type in small, manageable groups in drop-front storage boxes custom-fitted with inert padding materials such as polyester foam or Volara®. Larger artifacts were stored in custom-fitted triple-wall storage cartons. The storage boxes were custom-fitted in a way to be self-explanatory and easy to reconfigure after use. Labels on the boxes alert users to handling and condition concerns. To date, 230 artifacts have been cleaned, surveyed and rehoused. Work remains on the oversize artifacts, ribbons, trinkets and buttons

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Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections Cornell University Library

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