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Archival flag/banner storage system
Old 07-26-2008, 04:59 PM   #1
Ralph P
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Default Archival flag/banner storage system

Archival flag/banner storage system. By Paul R ©

The topic on how to properly store flags and banners has come up every so often. There are several different ways of how to store them in an archival safe manner. One of the ways to store them will be talked about in this pinned article.

Simply folding a flag or banner will produce creases in the flag. In time the folded method also will stress the flag’s fabric threads breaking them down and tearing them apart. Even refolding the flag every few months will not protect the threads from breaking down. I have seen large flags and banners 8ft. X 15ft. folded down to a 3ft. X 5ft. bundle.

Yes, the tightly folded bundle takes up little space, but now you added the weight of the flag to help stress the creases and tear the fabric’s threads.

Rolled flag/banner storage system.

This method is how a lot of museums store such items. It’s a fairly inexpensive method and a safe way to put it together with out spending a small fortune.

A list of supplies that you will need to complete your project follows (some items can be purchased at local fabric stores):

* Acid free cardboard tubes come in various lengths and widths to make it easier to roll the flag. There are several companies that sell these tubes in different lengths and widths. For smaller flags and banners I have found that a 3 inch diameter tube works well for a 3ft. X 5 ft item. For those flags that are in poor condition or torn a 4-5 inch diameter tube works better. It‘s better to have that type of flag rolled over a larger tube than a smaller diameter as not to stress torn areas. (most likely you have to order these tubes). I would advise you not to use cheap plain cardboard tubes. They are made with poor quality wood pulp, sulfur, and paper stiffeners. All of these inexpensive tubes are prone to out gas and deteroite quickly.

* Unbleached muslin fabric (easily found in a local fabric store). This must first be washed (wash fabric in a washing machine on cool water DO NOT USE SOAP) the plain water will wash out the starch that was added to the fabric during the fabric’s manufacturing process. Air dry or line dry only. Do NOT put cotton fabric a hot drier.

* Cotton twill tape ½ wide (local fabric store)

* An Acid free box to store your flags in when you are finished (ordered)

* Cotton gloves (may have to be ordered)

There are a few necessary first steps to conceder before you start your project. Have a clean work area to start with. A clean kitchen, or a dinning room table may be used, or a cleaned vacuumed floor area.

For larger flags you might enlist someone’s help to roll the flag on to the tube straight. Use cotton gloves on your hands.

Photo #1 Is showing the acid free tube on washed muslin fabric. The fabric is cut 3 longer than the tube, and the fabric goes around the tube once (allow for at least a 1 in amount over the fabric).The muslin will help to keep the flag/banner from sliding off the tube. Do not glue or staple the fabric on to the tube. If you find that the acid free tube is too long for your flag/banner. You can saw it down with a hand saw.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:01 PM   #2
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Photo #2 partially wrapped acid free tube. Tuck extra length fabric length inside the tube. The extra muslin fabric is also a cushion if your store your flags/banners on a pole rack. You can also hang a photograph of the flag attached to the muslin with a Mylar photographic sleeve.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:02 PM   #3
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Photo #3 Completed muslin wrapped tube.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:02 PM   #4
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Photo#4 The flag is laid out flat. Using cotton gloves. I starting to roll flag over muslin covered acid free tube. Try to roll the tube and flag slowly to smoothing out any potential hard creases in the flag fabric.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:03 PM   #5
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Photo #5 Flag is completely rolled on to the tube. Notice there are no hard creases in the flag fabric.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:03 PM   #6
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Photo #6 Cotton twill ties are cut 3 inches longer that the circumference of the tube.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:04 PM   #7
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Photo #7 The twill ties are tied around the flag as shown below. Use caution. Don’t pull the ties to tight so it will cause any hard creases.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:05 PM   #8
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Photo #8 Next cut another piece of muslin fabric slightly wider the previous piece. That was used to cover the acid free tube. Wrap the last cover as a protective piece. See below photo. NOTE the cotton twill ties were removed from the flag for this photo only as to not be confused the flag ties.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:06 PM   #9
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Photo #9 Tie another set of cotton twill ties finished flag/banner wrapped in muslin. Stuff the muslin ends into the end of the tube.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:07 PM   #10
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Flag/banner is ready to be placed with other flags in an acid free storage box. Depending on the width of the flag /banner approxitmulity 3 or 4 flag can be safely stored into this box. These boxes also come in different sizes and widths.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:08 PM   #11
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For archival acid free tubes and boxes.
Gaylord Library and Museum Supplies
Talas Conservation supplies
University Products (The archival company)
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:14 AM   #12
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Wow,,exactly what I was looking for thanks for a great post!!
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:08 AM   #13
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Great post.

Any suggestions on how to clean a banner and remove already present creases/folds?
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:10 PM   #14
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Thank you so much for posting this step-by-step. I just ordered materials to store a silk Japanese WWII flag. I really appreciate the instructions. Thank you again.
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Archival flag/banner storage system
Old 05-28-2010, 10:07 AM   #15
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Default Archival flag/banner storage system

There is not much I can add to Ralph's thorough storage explanation here other than one possible suggestion. Often a flag or banner has microscopic or sometimes larger contaminants that have adhered to the material threads. As fibers rub against each other, the dirt particles actually act as points of abrasion and wear and may weaken or evetually produce holes in the material. One addition to prevent this problem is to fold a piece of acid free paper or muslin cloth of the kind described in the article, inside the flag or banner as well during rolling. The goal is to make sure that the flag's material never rubs against itself and that it is always in contact with the "clean" neutral preservation material only. It may seem like a small point, however, the goal is to minimize any damage that may occur as the items have the potential to be stored for another hundred years, hopefully more. Very nice explanation and illustrations Ralph.

Michael Bortner
Imperial Japanese Good Luck Flags and One-Thousand Stitch Belts
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