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Archival Methods Newsletter • Issue #4

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Portfolio & Cases Boxes Binders & Albums Enclosures Kits & Sleeves Sleeves Frames Board & Paper

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How to... Select a Conservator?

In this issue:

Selecting a conservator for your artwork collection or recently inherited family photographs can be in one word – overwhelming. Learning more about conservation itself is a great idea prior to

HOW TO... • Select a Conservator?

contacting a conservator. The term and field refer to the processes taken toward the long-term preservation of property such as artwork, artifacts, documents, and photographs. The various phases of the process include examining the current condition of the item, treatment if needed and


preventative care to slow and hopefully eliminate any further deterioration. Keep in mind that

PRODUCTS conservation is different from restoration, although many people seem to think they are the same. • Museum Board • Conservation Board

Restoration is a type of treatment used in conserving various materials and objects; restoring the current state of the item to its original condition or as close as possible.

• Digital Portfolios • Accent Portfolios

There are a few signs that suggest you should consider contacting a conservator. Answering yes

• Leather Print Folios

to any of the following questions, would qualify for reasons you should reach out for a professional’s opinion. Remember, it doesn’t hurt the collection to have a skilled conservator

ISSUE #4 TIP • Bad vs. Good Frames

ISSUE #4 TERM • Stabilization

examine it and suggest treatment options.

• • • • • •

Wet and/or moldy materials? Flaking or peeling? Pressure sensitive tapes & labels were used on documents or prints? Brittle mat board? Changes in tears, hinges or stains of any kind? Fading?

Q&A • Museum & Japanese Hinges?


Although there are no certifications needed to become a conservator, you will find the best professionals in the industry have been trained at the graduate school level in conservation and/or worked as apprentices with senior colleagues for many years. When choosing a conservator, do

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not hesitate to ask him or her questions before allowing them to treat your collection. Take your

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time in selecting a good match not only for your items but for you. You want to do business with

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someone you can trust and are able to communicate with.

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CONTACT Our Website: Our Email: Our Toll Free Number: 866-877-7050

• • • •

How many years have you been working in the industry? What is your training & educational background? Is conservation the primary technique you use on a regular basis? Do you have references from past clients?

Recommended resources:

• •

Presentation Products RESOURCES • Archivery • Conservators

UPCOMING EVENTS SPE – The Society for Photographic Education Annual Conference Philadelphia, PA March 4-7, 2010 Philadelphia Downtown Marriott (Booth # 11)


Leather Print Folios

Museum Board

Accent Portfolios

Digital Print Folios

Conservation Board

• Mounting Techniques • Family Photographs • Family Photo Storage

Issue #4 Tip: Bad Frames vs. Good Frames What to consider when choosing your next frame? ARCHIVE • Issue #1 • Issue #2 • Issue #3



An acidic backing board weakens paper fibers and Special UV-filtering glazing (Acrylite OP-3) can discolor or damage photograph

protects against ultraviolet light that causes fading of photographs

An unsealed frame can allow insects in which can

A window mat holds the print away from

and will damage photograph

glass/plexi to prevent transferring of image

Scotch tape used to mount photograph to backing

Window mat and backing board should be made

board will permanently stain photo

of ACID-FREE materials

Photos mounted without a window mat may react to Use photo corners to place print on backing humidity and/or moisture & end up sticking to the

board – they will hold photo in place and allow

glass/plexi of the frame, resulting in the peeling off for it to be removed easily if needed of portions of the print Old & fragile or too thin of picture wire to hold the Edge sealing keeps out insects and stabilizes weight of the frame will cause the framed photo to against any harmful changes in moisture levels come crashing down

that could arise

Wood frames (unsealed) can contribute oxidizing

Metal frames do not release dangerous fumes

fumes that can damage prints

and tend to be more economical

Issue #4 Term: Stabilization A conservation treatment that is used when restoring the item, document, print, etc. is unable to be done. Stabilization refers to an attempt to maintain the integrity of the material and to minimize any further deterioration, rather than restoring it to its original condition.

Questions & Answers If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail them to or visit us on Twitter, FaceBook or LinkedIn. Q: Help me understand museum quality hinge mounting of photographs and prints. What about Japanese hinges? A: There are a handful of factors that separate conservation-grade mounting of prints from unsafe mounting. No matter the method you choose, be sure to follow the principles listed below. 1) Acid-Free Adhesives – any adhesive that touches the print needs to meet the same requirement for pH neutrality as the board and other materials. Be sure it has been tested and meets the

standards. 2) Reversibility – sometime in the near or distant future someone will want to remove the print form the mat. Use methods that are reversible and will not damage the print. 3) Support – make sure there is adequate support but not too much. The mount should tear or give before the paper or mat does. 4) Inspection – should be mounting in away that allows for someone to examine the inside of the mat for insects, mold, etc. 5) Movement – over time with the help of humidity and other climate related factors paper can change size. Give the print room to expand and contract.

For basic mounting of prints within an album or the backing board of a window mat; the use of mounting corners is the most common practice. Polyester and polypropylene corners are recommended. However, there are other options. Corner (Paper) Pockets are available from many vendors pre-cut and it is possible to construct your own.

The Print Pocket also avoids adhesive contact with the print as does the corner pocket but also is designed to hold the picture firmly in place and its added support is especially recommended for brittle and delicate objects. This pocket is used only with a window mat.

Japanese Tissue Hinges represent the most exquisite and graceful way to mount a print. There are three kinds of hinges that have been developed; hanging or pendant, the folded and the reinforced.

More detailed instructions, etc. can be found in the article; Techniques: Mounting Corners & Hinges. Click here to download.

Our 2010 Catalog will be mailed out in the near future.

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Copyright (C) 2009 Archival Methods • All rights reserved. Archival Methods, 235 Middle Road Henrietta, NY 14467

Newsletter Issue 4  

How to... Select a Conservator? Selecting a conservator for your artwork collection or recently inherited family photographs can be in one w...

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