Posted by: Ashley | October 19, 2015

Preservation Matting and Framing

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, Head of the Collections Management Branch.]

The Collections Management Branch has been busy preparing State Archives materials to go on display in the Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina exhibit opening at the Museum of History. Displaying original objects can be very challenging and can even compromise preservation efforts. To minimize the risk and damage of exhibiting our material, we have taken a lot of preservation actions. Some of these include carefully selecting stable original objects, using facsimiles, rotating sensitive and fragile materials, limiting length of the exhibit, having low light levels in the gallery, and using preservation matting and framing.

Long term display of original materials is not recommended, but when displaying an original object is desired, the object needs to be protected from light, air, and touching. Below are some tips and guidelines on preservation matting and framing of original materials.

Preservation Matting and Framing

Preservation matting and framing are the methods and special framing materials used to limit risks to objects on display. The key to preservation matting and framing is using conservation quality materials that are chemically stable.

  • The matboard for the window and the back-mat needs to be made of 100% cotton rag, lignin-free wood pulp stock, and pH-neutral or slightly alkaline.
  • UV-filtering glazing used to help mitigate the irreversible damage from light. Glazing should never come in contact with the object and acrylic glazing should not be used with friable media.
  • Use caution when using wood frames. If using a wood frame, the interior of the frame should be lined with a barrier film to prevent acids in the wood from migrating to the matboard and object.
  • Make sure the mat package is firmly secured in the frame using pins or brads, not tape. Ensure that the frame package is constructed in such a way as to minimize warping, bowing, and bending.

Preferred Display Areas and Storage

  • Always display and store objects out of direct sunlight
  • Do not display objects near fireplaces, radiators, windows, and air vents
  • Display originals on interior walls
  • Do not store objects in basements, attics, or areas prone to environmental extremes or with high risk of water leaks or flooding

Conservation quality matboard package

Conservation quality matboard package

UV filtering acrylic

UV filtering acrylic

Always contact a professional framer, collections specialist, or conservator if you are considering displaying your original materials. Please feel free to contact Jennifer Blomberg, Head of Collections Management Branch if you have questions on preservation and how to protect and safeguard your collections.

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