Caring for wood and taonga 

Storage conditions

Pou kätua (stockade post figure) 1800s, Maker unknown, New Zealand. Te Papa
Pou kätua (stockade post figure) 1800s, Maker unknown, New Zealand. Te Papa

It is very important to keep your wooden objects in an area where the temperature and relative humidity are regulated and kept constant. Fluctuations can cause wood to expand and contract, leading to cracking, bending, and breakage. Wooden objects also need to be protected from exposure to light.

Insects like borer and beetles can cause huge damage to wooden objects, so make sure to inspect new pieces that come into the space to ensure there isn’t an infestation. Wood is an extremely flammable material, so protect your items and have an organised fire-safety plan in place.

Keep the area clean from dust by regularly vacuuming and dusting the floors and shelving of your museum. During cleaning, you should avoid applying oils to wood and for particularly fragile or valuable pieces it may be a good idea to consult with a professional conservator.

When storing your wooden objects, place them on shelves or pallets rather than directly on the floor.

Read more about how to care for wooden objects:

Moving and handling

When moving a heavy object, make sure to use at least two people and have a clear path laid out before you start. If you are dealing with furniture and there are drawers or shelves that could come loose, make sure that you secure these first. If possible, wear gloves when handling wood objects. However, gloves can affect your grip so, when holding heavy things, it may be best to use clean, bare hands.

Taonga Māori protocol 

If your wooden objects are taonga Māori (Māori treasures), be sure to consult with an iwi (tribal) representative for advice on how to properly care for and display them.

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