"We had to give them back," Sean Todd, the museum registrar, said during a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum Saturday.
Artifact preservation was one of the topics in the 45-minute workshop, which will be offered twice on Saturdays through Sept. 27.
"Attics are very bad," he said.
Museum patrons got a sneak peek into Mr. Todd's work space, where conservation and preservation take place on a regular basis. He showed several pieces that are not usually on display for museum guests, including a 1760 letter written by one of Georgia's Colonial governors, Henry Ellis, who later returned to England to serve as one of the king's advisers.
The letter was well-preserved because it was written on paper made from a textile such as linen or cotton rather than wood pulp. The writing material has less acid in it than a wood-pulp product would.
Another letter, from 1916, was on a mass-produced piece of paper. It was in a sealed container, but if it had been exposed to air it would have crumbled in his hand, Mr. Todd said.
The acids in the paper had caused its deterioration.
Mr. Todd handled many pieces, even wooden and metal artifacts, with white gloves to prevent oils from his hands from contacting the surfaces.
The presentations began July 12, and Mr. Todd said they have been well-received. None of the sessions have been canceled because of a lack of participants.
"They get to see things they don't generally get to see," he said.
The behind-the-scenes events are at 1 and 2 p.m. Saturdays, and they are free with paid admission to the museum. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and $2 for children. The sessions are limited to 15 participants.
For more information, call (706) 722-8454.
Reach Charmain Brackett at email@example.com.