Meteorologist Kylee Miller is at the Henry Ford Museum and we are finding out how the weather elements impact the costumes here on display. There is a new exhibition called, Heroes and Villains, The Art of the Disney costume. You’ll see some neat costumes like Cinderella’s dress and glass slipper. Now there’s a process of transporting, preserving, and showcasing all the costumes.

Becky Cline, Director of the Walt Disney Archives, “One of the most important things about archiving anything is to protect and preserve and conserve these pieces. And so costumes just like props or delicate documents or photography things like that require conservation preservation skills. And so, our team has to preserve these costumes to make sure they’re in the proper environments.”

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Now there are certain controlled thresholds to protect and maintain the costumes.

Becky Cline, Director of the Walt Disney Archives adds, “So that includes humidity and temperature and of course light levels. So as archivists and conservators and historians we are very careful when we travel an exhibition like this that we don’t leave them out under harsh lights for too long. We have to keep the lighting levels low, so they’re protected from UV and things like that. When we are storing and conserving them before they go out on exhibit, we make sure they rest between exhibits and that they are kept in the dark and in cool temperatures and in low humidity. That helps us take care of the fabrics and the textiles.“

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Depending on the fabric, materials, and the environment adjustments may be needed to store and preserve the costumes.

Becky Cline, Director of the Walt Disney Archives replies, “Even the way we store them is different depending on the type of fabric that the costume is made of. Sometimes the heavier things like beaded or sequined costumes or very heavy leather costumes, we have to make sure we don’t allow them to stretch out. So instead of hanging them on a hanger, while they are being stored, we lay them out flat in a box. Then we use acid-free tissue to wrap them up in so that there not exposed to chemicals and things in wrapping paper and boxes. So we have to use acid-free materials to store them properly and that protects them and keeps them looking nice and the colors don’t fade and things like that.”

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So if you come to see this exhibit, just know that there are a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts to keep the costumes in pristine condition. Now that’s the Science of Weather, I’m Meteorologist Kylee Miller.