How To Clean and Preserve WWII Flags

How To Clean and Preserve WWII Flags

If you’re a history buff and collector, you’d know how significant it is to own World War II flags (including a Natzi flag). It may only be a piece of fabric, but in reality, it’s a symbol and a portrayal of a country or a group’s certain beliefs and values.

It goes without saying that such an important item should be well-kept and preserved. This article aims to discuss just that.

What Brings Harm to Historical Artifacts

War flags are considered to be historical artifacts. Before sharing some tips on how to properly preserve them, know first the common hazards that can be really dangerous for them:

Light. Whether the memorabilia is a textile or a paper, exposing them to excessive light can be hazardous. Take note that light contains ultraviolet radiation that can harm surfaces and structures.

Humidity. If the area where you keep your flags become too humid, it can promote mold growth. If the humidity becomes too low, historical artifacts can become too brittle.

Human beings. People’s skin contains oil and sweat; when these come in contact with artifacts like textiles and fabrics (as in war flags, e.g. Natzi flag), the artifacts can get damaged.

Pests. Different types of historical materials attract different types of pests. Nonetheless, they all bring harm to such important things. If you own a flag, you need to keep an eye on moths as they are attracted to protein fibers.

Preserving War Flags

Given that there are many risks that can bring damage to World War II flags like a natzi flag, how can they be kept safe? Here are some tips.

Store each flag in an acid-free box. Dedicate one storage per flag as it’s not advisable to stack them on top of others. The box should then be stored in climate-controlled areas away from bright light.

Make use of acid-free tissue paper. Whenever possible, don’t fold the flags. But if you are to do it for space-saving purposes, use an acid-free tissue paper — place it in the center of the flag and loosely fold the flag around the tissue. Also, use this tissue as a protective layer inside the storage box.

Inspect them at least every six months. Antique flags should be inspected at least twice a year. This is to check whether there are issues like general discoloration, insect infestation, or fiber shedding. During this time, you should have it lightly vacuumed and cleaned as well. Experts recommend you to get help from professionals as different types of fabric react to different types of cleaning agents.

Refold them at least once a year. This is to avoid the fabric of the flag from getting stressed. Pad out the folds using an acid-free tissue. Fold it in a new area to avoid stressing the same area.

If you are to display them, let a professional do it. If you are the type of collector who loves to display your memorabilia like flags, tap a professional to take care of your situation. They’re equipped when it comes to framing it using safe, archival materials.

At Gettysburg Museum, we have a huge collection of World War II memorabilia including various flags such as a Natzi flag. Contact us today for more information.

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