Preservation Field Office

The majority of the Native American baskets in storage were found in an attic space on the Mission grounds. Shown here, the baskets are temporarily stored in the Preservation Field Office during the preparation of the new storage facility.

Basement Baskets

Some of the baskets were found in the basement of the Mission's Administration Building. As seen here, this is a typical example of the poor storage conditions of the baskets: the large basket does not have any supports while the smaller, flattened baskets are stacked one on top of the other-conditions which promote their deformation.

Polyethylene Bags

Although these two baskets are stored inside polyethylene bags, they are not properly sealed, thus enabling the accumulation of dust particulate and the possible infestation of insects.

Insect Damage

Prior to storage, each basket is photo-documented and material conditions are recorded. Due to the missing portion in the center of the basket, there is a lack of tension in the weave, thereby causing its outside edge to flatten and become more horizontal. This loss appears to be a result of insect damage.

Well Supported

Storage Ready

To allow for proper storage, fragile baskets are well supported: each basket has its own cushioned support that conforms to its current contours. The cleaned basket is ready for storage. This includes the cushioned support within a handling tray, all of which are made out of archival, acid-free materials.

Japanese Hake Brush

Part of the storage process includes dry cleaning each basket with a soft Japanese hake brush. Many of the baskets had an accumulation of dirt and dust particulate, as well as insect frass.

Basket Trays

Each basket has its own tray, specifically designed for its storage needs. Materials used to make the trays are archival and inert.

Isolated Environment

Prior to installing the shelving and cabinetry, the Mission Preservation Team redesigns the space to create a more stable, isolated environment for collections storage. The work includes: removing carpeting and padding and sealing the floor with a vapor barrier; installing new locks to ensure security; and, seen here, mounting black-out panels in front of the windows and French doors and installing UV filter sleeves over fluorescent tubes to control light levels.

New Museum Cabinet

View of the Mission's basket collection stored in the new museum cabinet, which requires minimal interior maintenance and provides superior resistance to fire, water, and pests.

Stable Cabinets

These chemically stable cabinets are extremely versatile: they provide security as well as protection from light and dust, and buffer relative humidity and temperature fluctuations. Seen in the background are temporary shelving units, which will be in place until the Mission raises funds to purchase more museum cabinets.

CMF Grant

The funds remaining from the CMF grant will be used toward the housing of another significant collection, the Mendoza ceramics (the glazed clay pieces seen on temporary shelving), which will require earthquake mitigation measures.

Mendoza Collection

These two unglazed clay pieces, which are possibly of Mexican origin, will be stored along with the Mendoza collection, given their fragile nature and historic significance.

Mission Preservation Team

The Mission Preservation Team monitors the temperature and relative humidity levels in the new storage facility to determine whether adjustments are needed to minimize harmful impacts from the environment. Climate control is important because artifacts can be damaged if the temperature and relative humidity are too high, too low, or if these factors fluctuate too rapidly.