STASH FLASH V – Storage Tips Session
Moderators: Lisa Goldberg and Rachael Arenstein
The STASHc (Storage Techniques for Art, Science and History collections) website www.stashc.com, hosted by FAIC is now five years old and continues to expand as a resource for sharing well-designed storage solutions. To complement AIC’s 46th Annual Meeting conference theme, the 2018 STASH Flash session, part of the Collection Care Network session in the afternoon of Thursday, May 31, will focus on the interplay between the material composition of artifacts and the materials chosen for the construction of storage and support solutions. The session will utilize a lightening round or “tips” format and the full presentations will be posted on the STASHc website following the conference. After the presentations there will be an update on the Collection Care Network’s new Materials Working Group and we will engage participants in discussion about their hopes and needs for an online resource that will aid in making suitable materials choices for storage, exhibit and transport. Take a look at the presentations that will be given at the session
Alison Reppert Gerber, Smithsonian Institution Archives
The Archives recently received several scrapbooks created by Elizabeth C. Reed during her husband’s tenure as Director of the National Zoological Park (NZP). These scrapbooks contain information about noteworthy events and consist mainly of newspaper clippings and pamphlets from around the country. The primary goals of this housing was to provide added support for the textblock to prevent damage during handling and the mitigate future deterioration of the groundwood paper pages. It was also important to maintain them in bound form to prevent any dissociation or disarrangement of pages. First, the scrapbook was taken apart and the plastic posts and nylon cord of the spine were removed. Interleaving paper (80 lb. weight, acid-free, buffered) was cut to size and used between each scrapbook page. To replicate the support of the removed plastic posts, a “spine wrap” was created using archival E-flute corrugated board. The textblock was placed inside the wrap and the original cover pages were reattached using an 8-ply hemp cord, mimicking the original structure of the scrapbook.
Mounting Caps: from Imaging to Storage
Sarah Gordon and Isaac Facio, The Art Institute of Chicago
This project involved rehousing a series of 17th-century English caps when they were presented for imaging. The caps feature fragile metal-wrapped thread embroidery and paillettes, which were vulnerable to loss due to abrasion and lack of sufficient support in their previous storage configuration. The scope of the project was therefore two-fold: create an efficient mounting system for imaging, as the project was time-sensitive, and reconceive the storage design to prevent losses to the material. The solution was to use 0.31 mil polyethylene sheeting (“painter’s plastic”) as a quick, economical, and safe material to form easily adjustable mounts. Isaac Facio covered the existing thin, somewhat abrasive padded muslin inserts with plastic to shape a fuller mount, leaving a gap in the middle to receive an Ethafoam insert on which to rest. While the plastic was used to adjust mount size, the insert provided stability and could be removed and reused for different caps. To limit handling long-term, Sarah Gordon then constructed individual FomeCor trays, each with a universal Ethafoam insert adhered to receive a padded hat; the trays were secured with bumpers in a new blue board box. Modification of this simple imaging mount has provided an efficient approach to housing hats while limiting direct handling in the future.
In-Situ Storage of Wrought Iron Gates
Dorothy Cheng, Smithsonian American Art Museum
The historic Art Deco-era building housing the Seattle Asian Art Museum is currently undergoing major renovations. To prepare for these comprehensive updates, the entire collection was packed and transported to storage in either the downtown museum location or an off-site facility. However, the iconic wrought-iron Samuel Yellin gates, commissioned specifically for the newly established museum in the 1930s, are integral parts of the architecture and could not be removed from the premises. It was determined that the gates would be packed in-situ with materials that would buffer against inevitable environmental fluctuations and provide protection from renovation dust and debris. Associate Objects Conservator Geneva Griswold and I used a combination of the stiffer and more affordable Tyvek HomeWrap and the more commonly used needle-punched Tyvek SoftWrap, along with polyester quilt batting, Volara, cable ties, and twill tape to create secure and affordable “blankets” for the gates.
Bug Tubs: Streamlining Blunder Trap Collection for Storage and Transport
Morgan Nau, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University
Blunder traps are used throughout most museums as a critical component in Integrated Pest Management. However, given the nature of blunder traps, collecting, storing, and transporting them can become a frustrating and sticky task. Detaching traps that are stuck together not only takes time (and accidental contact with creepy crawlies!), but it can also cause loss of data through damage, as well as contamination of data if pests accidentally transfer from one trap to another. This presentation will discuss a storage and transport system for traps that was devised at the Peabody Museum. The system utilizes easy to source and relatively inexpensive materials including sealable plastic tubs and coroplast trays, requires little skill to assemble, but will result in a secure, efficient storage solution that can be used for movement within your institution or when shipping traps off site to your pest specialist.
Boa Storage: Development and Execution
Mary Kuhn, Courtney Bolin, Namrata Dalela, Miriam G. Murphy, John Weingardt, Allison Gentry, Jake Shonborn, and Mary Ballard
A group of boas were found amidst the Black Fashion Museum collection. Several appear to be associated with the Precola DeVore’s School of Charm, a charm school and modeling agency in Washington, D.C. It appears to have opened its doors in 1955. A literature survey of feather storage in other museums did not provide an adequate storage solution for these costume accessories to be stored at an off-site facility. One ethnographic conservator said that proper storage would be vertical storage with the feather hung from their central yarn cord. Such a system would not answer the needs of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC): safely transportable, protected from insects, easily accessible, and ready for transfer to a gallery space and exhibition. A special storage method was needed that would be easy to use and to re-use, that suggested to the viewer, even in storage, how stunning and alluring such a garment accessory could be.
Rehousing a Collection of Pre-Columbian Ceramics and Stone
James Thurn, Library of Congress
The Collections Stabilization Section of the Conservation Division at the Library of Congress recently housed a large collection of pre-Columbian objects made of stone and fired clay. The collection was donated by collector Jay Kislak, and is under the care of John Hessler, Curator of the Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Archeology and History of the Early Americas. The archival enclosures reduce direct handling of the objects and facilitate their viewing. To conserve space and allow long-term storage in museum-style cabinets, the enclosures are made as small as possible. The enclosures are outfitted with foam, polyester batting, and Tyvek sheeting to protect the objects housed within. Three general designs were used for the project: the nest-type enclosure, the drop-front enclosure, and the drop-front enclosure with sliding tray. The type of enclosure for a specific object is chosen based on what is most protective of the object, and how the object will best be presented to viewers. Protective foam is configured to the specific size and shape of the object and adhered to the interior of the box with hot-melt glue. Consideration is also given to safe removal of an object from its housing in the event removal is necessary.
Glass Enclosures for Papyrus
Marieka Kaye, Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation
While there is a general consensus that papyrus be handled, exhibited, and stored between sheets of a transparent rigid material such as glass, debates remain as to the very best material for glazing. Historically soda-lime glass has been used, but acrylic has been more recently favored in some institutions. The use of damaging materials such as cellulose nitrate and polyester films are also found in collections. There is much advancement in the field of glass manufacture in recent years, influenced by the need for a lightweight, scratch-resistant, and unbreakable glass to be used in the manufacture of electronics. With a particular focus on Corning Gorilla Glass, this paper will explore how new types of glass may be successfully employed in the housing of papyri, including economic feasibility and an investigation of the way the glass ages and how it handles under stress in a variety of environments.
Preservation Housing System for Cased Daguerreotypes
Ralph Wiegandt, University of Rochester
Due to their reactive silver and silver-gold-mercury nano-structured surface, daguerreotypes are highly sensitive to atmospheric deterioration and excessive relative humidity. Destructive deterioration occurs readily within the enclosed American-style cases, exacerbated by relative humidity >50% and off-gassing case materials containing acidic and sulfur-bearing leather, dyed wool, and silk. This submission describes a low-profile inner daguerreotype plate isolation package assembled with 0.5mm ultra-thin surface-enhanced cover glasses and placed inside the case, without modification of original materials and presentation. The “enhanced” daguerreotype case is then placed in an aluminized flexible barrier foil enclosure with a lock-zippered closure and a 40% RH equilibrated silica-gel sheet. An indicator strip is visible through a clear barrier window to monitor for sustained <50 % RH. Specific daguerreotype deterioration will be described along with the merit and imperative to address this pervasive risk to daguerreotypes with a low-cost and efficiently achievable solution.