Conservators advocate for clean gloves, or thoroughly cleaned hands when handling objects. Most hand sanitisers have an alcohol base which evaporates quickly off the hands to leave them dry within a minute. Begin to handle once hands are dry; transference of liquid may damage objects.
- These materials should be unaffected by use of hand sanitiser prior to handling: waxed and bare wood, glazed ceramics, glass.
- These materials could be affected, if the sanitiser is not dry: textiles, metal work, paper, painted surfaces and artworks, taxidermy (e.g. anything that would be damaged by amino acids in our sweat, moisturisers, medication creams, etc.).
Avoid using anti-bacterial wipes on objects, as we don’t know how that could damage or affect the surface of the objects without testing. Objects sealed in Secol™ sleeves or acrylic boxes could be wiped. Consider staff PPE for cleaning products used.
Leeds Museums and Galleries manage a primary schools membership scheme, including loans boxes containing only accessioned museum objects. These can be made Covid Secure using the 72-hour rule and robust handling practices in school. During lockdown they produced Museum at Home films for schools and families based on the boxes, which have longevity beyond Covid.