Artifact Storage: Tips and Tricks

Some random images of tricks and tips for artifact storage, courtesy of the Alaska State Museum…

Our supplies board helps interns and volunteers recognize various materials and how much they cost per square foot.

Our supplies board helps interns and volunteers recognize various materials and how much they cost per square foot.

Tubular bags with a bag sealer

Tubular bags with a bag sealer

Nice glue gun, well worth the money.

Nice glue gun, well worth the money.

Tyvek and polyester batting make nice sausages for padding.

Tyvek and polyester batting make nice sausages for padding.

Bag sealer can customize the size of your sausages or make pillows.

Bag sealer can customize the size of your sausages or make pillows.

A hole punch can go through E Flute corrugated blueboard for a tidy hole.

A hole punch can go through E Flute corrugated blueboard for a tidy hole.

A fancier drill-style hole punch can put a hole further from the edge.

A fancier drill-style hole punch can put a hole further from the edge.

For packing, blue tape with a tab on the end is nice.  Ready to pull off a plastic board (Coroplast) even nicer.  Weighted down by a board so you can use it one-handed!

For packing, blue tape with a tab on the end is nice. Ready to pull off a plastic board (Coroplast) even nicer. Weighted down by a board so you can use it one-handed!

Tyvek shroud over a garment rack, made on a sewing machine.

Tyvek shroud over a garment rack, made on a sewing machine.

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5 Responses to Artifact Storage: Tips and Tricks

  1. scurtis says:

    This message was originally HTML formatted. View in a HTML capable client to see the original version.\r\n\r\n Hi Ellen. What do you use the Tyvek Home Wrap for? I found a roll in my collection supplies and don’t know what it’s intended purpose was. Also, the roll I have is black with a shiny layer on the back, purchased from a home improvement store. Do you think this is conservation-grade? Thanks! Susan

  2. Justin says:

    Hello,

    I happened upon your blog from a Google search and wondered if perhaps you could answer my question. I was looking for someplace that sells archival Coroplast, but the places I’ve found only sell it in bulk when I need just one or two sheets. I was going to use it as backing board behind the back mat in framing art, and didn’t know how big a difference there is between the archival grade and standard grade in this application. I appreciate any information you can provide on this topic.

    Your blog looks pretty cool, by the way. I’ve become fascinated by art conservation lately.

    Justin

  3. ellencarrlee says:

    A couple of thoughts on less expensive supplies…look at this website: http://cameo.mfa.org/wiki/Coroplast. CAMEO is the Conservation and Art Materials Encyclopedia Online thanks to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. It is good to take a look at what this website says are the “ingredients” of any product, and perhaps a suggestion of what it does, then see if your alternative product is similar. The reason museum folks stick to certain brands or “archival” materials involves the purity and reliability of the product. Most products we use are not invented and marketed solely for museum use, and sometimes include substances that enhance short-term needs of various users rather than long-term stability. Ambitious conservators will spend time on the telephone trying to find a representative of the company who can articulate how their product is equivalent (or not) to the tried-and-true archival brand. In your specific situation: I would probably include a sheet of archival matboard between the Coroplast and the artwork (especially if it happened to be on paper) and use whatever white or clear fluted copolymer of polyethylene/ polypropylene was available. A nice frame job stays framed for decades.

  4. ellencarrlee says:

    A general rule of thumb: conservators don’t tend to like black and dark-colored products. More substances/pigments etc need to be added to get materials dark, and those sometimes cause complications. Also, it is harder to see stains, impurities, mold, insect debris, detached fragments etc. Light colored products are therefore preferred. But more to the point: I have no idea what Tyvek product you could be talking about. Pieces of Tyvek that touch a museum item should be white, without writing, ink, glue joins etc. Tyvek with tiny holes is OK, it is called needlepunch, soft, or softwrap.

  5. This is an awesome and super informative guide for packing at museums… sharing with my fellow exhibit nerds! Thanks for sharing. Good luck with all of the moving!

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