By Rebecca Johnson, Preservation Technician and Offsite Coordinator
All paper fades over time. In the museum conservation world, we call it “burning”. While the term might sound overly dramatic, too much light on paper causes irreversible damage. In extreme cases, excessive burning can render documents illegible, thereby losing the historical significance. So when the Postal Museum installs an exhibit, our Preservation department carefully surveys, or reviews, every artifact to determine its fragility and sensitivity to light. Some objects are deemed too sensitive to remain exposed to light for the duration of the exhibit, so the curators select additional artifacts for “rotation”. After one artifact has been on display for its scheduled period, it is removed from the exhibit, returned to storage, and replaced by the next artifact in line.