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Why Humidifiers Are Essential for Collectibles

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There are many measures you take to preserve the life of your collectibles. You might keep them in special cases, dust them off with special cloths, polish them as needed or use other strategies to care for them. These special items are worth the effort, especially if you want them to last a lifetime.

Did you know that humidity plays a highly important role in preservation? When there is inadequate moisture in the air, paper, ivory, wood and other types of objects can be negatively affected. To be sure that your pieces are in the best possible environment, you may consider using a humidifier, which can ensure a consistently ideal concentration of moisture in the air, thus warding off permanent damage. 

Here's a look at why these devices are helpful in extending the life of your collectibles.

Whether you collect acoustic guitars, violins, violas or cellos, you should definitely consider the addition of a humidifier to your home to protect their integrity. Musician's Friend explained that maintaining proper moisture levels in the air not only minimizes the likelihood of cracks, shrinkage or warping, but can also uphold these instruments' playability. The source explained that using a humidifier is one of the easiest ways to protect your investment. Most importantly, exposing your instruments to adequate moisture is a must for sustaining their sound quality.

Do you have copies of rare or antique books in your collection? According to Cornell University Library, humidity plays a key role in safeguarding these objects. Too low humidity can make paper brittle, thus promoting tears and other damage. Additionally, these conditions may also led to distortion of the book cover, especially if it's bound in leather or vellum, as they are prone to warping when there's a deficiency of moisture. The library recommended 30 to 50 percent humidity in your home to extend the life of your books.

Wooden Objects
You've likely noticed that wooden doors and cabinets can become stuck or difficult to open on humid days. This is because as humidity in an environment rises, the wood absorbs that moisture and swells as a result. When humidity falls, however, wood loses moisture and shrinks. If there isn't enough humidity in the air, objects made of this material are at risk of splitting or warping. The Northern States Conservation Center explained that wooden pieces can even lose their adhesive coating due to this issue - a process called delamination. When humidity levels fluctuate significantly, wood continues to expand and contract, which often leads to visible damage.

Luckily, the American Conservation Consortium noted that you can prevent this by stabilizing the relative humidity, ideally at 50 percent, in the wooden objects' environment.