Preserving a Label on a Coat Rack

Dear Donia,
How do I preserve a label on the bottom of an oak coat rack?

Globe Wernicke Company label

Q. Dear Donia,

I have an oak coat tree that I bought many years ago at a garage sale. Our house flooded, and I’m planning to sand and refinish the coat tree to remove the water damage. As I was taking it apart today, I found a manufacturer’s (Globe Wernicke) label on the base and a label on the bottom with the text No. 272 Made by The Globe-Wernicke Company Cincinnati Made in the USA. The label on the bottom is very fragile but I would like to try to save it for the history. Should I put Mod Podge over it to preserve it or is there a better way? I think it will fall apart if I try to remove it. I don't believe that this item has much monetary value but I would like to preserve its story. Thanks, Tricia

A. Dear Tricia,

I also have furniture from the Globe Wernicke company so I know how fragile those labels are. If you make sure that the Mod Podge you get is clear acrylic and non-yellowing, it should be a fine option for this project. If you have concerns, you can also look at the crystal clear Krylon spray or water-based polyurethane. None of these is the perfect solution but the perfect solution is having a conservator remove the label, treat it, and put it back on your coat tree once you are done and that is much more expensive than a can of acrylic.

As a side note, if you are using a spray acrylic, be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area. Best, Donia