Due to the intermingling of materials, unusual preservation issues had to be addressed in order to maintain the intellectual content of the collection. It seemed important to stay as true to Frances Lichten's style of working as possible because without the interconnection of ideas and images, much would be lost. As a result of this decision, unique solutions had to be devised for the preservation of all the objects in the collection. Rather than creating a separate photo file to uniformly house the hundreds of photographs in these files, extensive interleaving with bond paper, as well as some encapsulation, was performed to maintain the collection's informational integrity. Fragile objects were segregated in envelopes and paper folders to preserve the delicate paper. Oversized objects are housed in separate boxes for their maintenance.
As much as was possible, the original order of the files was maintained. However, this proved difficult because they were housed and used in the Decorative Arts and American Art departments for nearly thirty years between Frances Lichten's death and their transfer to the Archives. Heavily used sections of the files, particularly in the area of Pennsylvania German folk art, were often in an order that was not necessarily the same as during their use by Frances Lichten. Comparisons between her card files and the research files were made to establish as accurate an order as possible. Lichten's own arrangement appeared to be alphabetical by project, which is why there is a new alphabetical series for each series in the final arrangement.
Although housed separately, oversized clippings, drawings and artifacts are intellectually arranged within appropriate series. Oversized clippings are in flat storage boxes 26 through 28. Oversized drawings and artifacts, including patterns taken from late 19th century magazines, are in flat storage box 29.