Whenever you see a museum artifact handled by anyone, they're wearing white gloves. We've got about a hundred pairs of white cotton gloves all over the Museum. And, on occasion, we still use them. Especially with certain types of artifacts (like negatives).
Back in 1999 or 2000, I can't remember which, I attended a workshop that was about handling different types of artifacts. It was held at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin and put on by the Texas Association of Museums. So, these people knew what they were talking about. At that workshop, they weren't using the cotton gloves to handle the artifacts. NO. They were using nitrile gloves. They explained that sometimes the cotton of the white gloves could snag on loose elements of various artifacts. And, really, you lose a lot of feeling when you're wearing the white gloves...they can be pretty thick. I, of course, switched immediately to the blue nitrile gloves. I've been using them for years at various institutions.
Last year, I started to notice that when we were handling metal artifacts with the blue nitrile gloves, that the gloves would turn a reddish-rust color. Weird. At first, I thought it was rust from the metal transferring to the gloves. But, it happened a lot and worried me enough that I started using the white gloves again for handling metal. Then one day while reading an email thread from a listserve, I saw something that confirmed what I had noticed. There WAS a reaction between the blue nitrile gloves and the metal. Conservators had done some testing, and they found that using the accelorater-free GREEN nitrile gloves was better. Not the same reaction.
So a few months ago following this advice, we switched to the green nitrile gloves. Very green, and fun, which never hurts. And, they're working wonderfully!