I recently found this article and realized I was committing a few doll preservation sins. I thought I would share this article with others.
1. Display Your Dolls in A Bright Sunny Window
Leave your dolls in a nice, sunny window! Its a great place for display--after all, the sunlight shows the pretty costume colors, and passerbys can enjoy your collection! This is a big no no! Nothing is more damaging to dolls than bright light--sunlight, especially, but also bright (and hot) incandescent and florescent light. Bright light will definitely fade the colors of most costumes, and it will also fade and damage various doll materials, including the vinyl in Barbie dolls.
2. Store Your Dolls In A Roomy Attic or Basement
Once you have lots of dolls for your collection, storage space can become a problem. Or, perhaps you have inherited vintage and antique dolls from your family. You eye that nice, roomy attic or basement and you....stuff your doll right in! This is not a good idea, unless you have a temperature controlled attic or basement. Attics and basements tend to great extremes of hot and cold, and this can quickly ruin composition, plastic and other doll materials.
3. Leave Your Dolls On Display And Never, Ever Dust Them!
Its so tempting to decorate with dolls--that big one looks great in Grandma's rocking chair, and those small ones are adorable on the table in the foyer. Ok, that is well and good, but if you leave your dolls out and let them gather dust, you will be sorry. Dust can dull costuming colors, it can set into wigs, and it can make cleaning doll clothes necessary--which can ruin the value of the doll. If you do display your dolls outside of closed cabinets, dust them often.
4. Throw Out Their Old, Ancient Clothes and Buy Them Shiny New Ones
I can't tell you the number of times a customer has walked into my doll store with a beautiful antique doll in original clothing, and walks up to my modern doll clothing rack and tries to replace the outfit (they only get to purchase the new outfit after a lecture from me about the importance of keeping the old outfit!) Perhaps the old outfit is a bit dirty or torn, but with just a bit of cleaning or mending, that old doll outfit is beautiful and appropriate--and valuable, too!
5. Let Your Cat Eat The Doll's Wig, and Your Dog The Doll's Shoes
OK...this one is a bit tongue in cheek, but I'm often surprised when visiting homes with dolls how Rover and Fluffy get free access to the rooms dolls displayed. Cats love mohair doll wigs (they think they make a great toy mouse) and dogs have been known to enjoy a doll shoe chew toy, or gnawing on that nicer leather antique doll body. Display your dolls and have your pets in separate rooms, or, have your dolls in enclosed cabinets (since you can't enclose your dog and cat in cabinets...).
6. Lay Your Antique Bisque Dolls On Their Backs For Storage
If you lay antique bisque dolls on their backs for storage, their glass eyes can fall out of their setting, and crack the eyes and possibly even the bisque of the head. This is because the eyes are help in with hardened plaster, and the weight of the eyes and the plaster can make them drop out when stored with the back down. Instead, store your antique bisque dolls face down.
7. Keep Your Dolls In Plastic Containers
Keeping your dolls in plastic containers can definitely keep them away from dust, pets and other problems. However, keeping dolls in plastic containers can cause another problem--air tight plastic can hold in even small bits of moisture, which over time creates mold or mildew on the dolls. This is a bad thing--mold and mildew can be impossible to remove from certain plastics that dolls are made from. If you must use plastic containers for doll storage, be sure to poke holes in the containers.
Thanks Denise for the great information!