- Get Involved
To find out how much a repair or conservation treatment will cost, to obtain a current valuation, or to maintain records for insurance, there are several steps to follow:
Write a description of the textile, its dimensions, its history as you know it. Include your name and telephone number.
For treatment inquiries, explain what you think needs to be done or what worries you. Write down what you would like to have it look like, or how you plan to use or display the textile.
Take photographs of the textile, by digital or conventional camera. Make sure that the camera lens is parallel to the textile, even if your have to take the photos in sections. Always set a card with your NAME, DATE, and a SCALE (example: 1" and a line one inch long) on the border. Lay the textile on a clean sheet, if need be. Make several copies of the photographs.
Keep one set of description, desires, and photography by your telephone, send of the other sets to potential conservators, your safe deposit box, dealers, etc.
To locate a reputable dealer qualified to give an appraisal for insurance purposes, inquire at the appropriate department at the nearest museum with a textile collection of that type: tapestry, costume, flat textiles, ethnographic, etc.
Ask the conservator for:
Do NOT take your heirloom out of your home in search of a dealer, conservator, or insurance agent. Use the photographs and description.
Never send your valuable off without a signed contract; also obtain a receipt from the shipping agent.
Consult your homeowner insurance agent for a "floater" or "rider" to insure your heirloom while it is out of your home and automobile. Ask your insurance agent to make sure the photographic record and description are suitable for insurance and appraisal.
Occasionally conservators will charge for reviewing and providing treatment estimates which are time consuming or unusual. If you are concerned about a proposal fee, inquire in your correspondence about this. If you accept the treatment, the cost of the estimate may be waived.
Updated: September 2006