Sneak Peak at STASH Flash V storage tips session at AIC’s Annual Meeting

STASH_logoSTASH FLASH V – Storage Tips Session
Moderators: Lisa Goldberg and Rachael Arenstein
The STASHc (Storage Techniques for Art, Science and History collections) website, 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

Scrapbook Rehousing
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.

FitzHugh donation to the South African Institute for Heritage Science

FitzHugh Collection - Retha Grundlingh, faculty memberIn February 2017, a notice appeared in the Conservation DistList, offering to donate the conservation library collection of the late Elisabeth FitzHugh. This kind offer had been extended by the FitzHugh sons, Thomas and William.

At the time, the South African Institute for Heritage Science was excitedly anticipating the launch of its newly accredited, postgraduate program, “Technical Conservation Studies”. A faculty member – having seen the ConsDistList notice – recognized the express value and favourable timing which attended the offer, and brought it to the attention of the Institute’s governing board. A written application was soon brought, requesting to be considered as recipients. Less than two weeks later came the delightful news: The FitzHugh family had decided to favour this institution and its nascent, postgraduate programme – a gracious nod to a milestone achievement for South Africa’s conservation domain.

For our institution, the value of this gift – comprising of nearly 150 books and a considerable number of journals – lay in equal parts in the FitzHugh Collection cabinets - SAIHSCwell-timed addition to the Physical Sciences library, and in the keenly sensed encouragement which inevitably attends such a generous and open-handed gift. The FitzHugh gift was also notable for being the first donation of any kind received by the Institute in its 25 years of existence, and accordingly had a palpably outsize effect on morale! (As a private provider of higher education, the Institute is not funded or subsidized by the State or any other benefactor.)

One year later, and with the postgraduate program already in full swing, the FitzHugh name has been formally conferred on the Institute’s entire conservation library, now collectively referred to as the “Elisabeth FitzHugh Collection”. The clearly marked book cabinets not only actively serve the needs of the program and students, but also pay elegant homage to a remarkable and prescient career in conservation. Our institution’s deepest and most sincere appreciation extend to the FitzHugh family, also as a respectful tribute to all whom had known and loved the evidently remarkable Elisabeth West FitzHugh.Campus entrance - 2016

Adriaan Botha, Chairman of the Board
The South African Institute for Heritage Science and Conservation 
Faculty of Physical Sciences
Faculty of Commerce

Registered as: The South African Institute for Heritage Science (Pty) Ltd. Registration Number: 2015/317414/07
An institution of Postgraduate Higher Learning (Higher Education Act No. 101 of 1997)


Job Announcement: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program Administrator position at The MET

Position Profile

Position Title: IPM Program Administrator
Department: Executive Offices
Reports to: Executive Offices
Salary Grade: M4
Employee Classification: Non-Union Exempt Full time
Effective Date: March xx, 2018
End date: Permanent

Applicants should be able to see and apply for this position soon on the Met’s Linkedin page,

Alternatively, applicants can send a cover letter and resume to as Word attachments and use the following format in the subject line: position title – your name.


The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program Administrator will oversee the creation and management of an IPM program  across the  institution.  Reporting  to the Executive Offices,  the position  works in close collaboration with the IPM-Working Group and Buildings Management to establish and uphold comprehensive and unified best practice procedures and policies for pest management and prevention. The position also offers overarching support for collections  management across the institution. The successful candidate will have experience implementing and administering  an IPM program, preferably across a large and complex organization.


  • Establishes and manages a comprehensive Integrated  Pest Management (IPM) program for the
  • Drafts IPM policy and procedure documents outlining:
    • Building-wide monitoring, identification, reporting, and treatment processes
    • Departmental monitoring and documentation
    • Best practices for prevention and exclusion – building infrastructure and housekeeping
    • Quarantine systems for objects entering and exiting the museum
    • Pest identification documents
    • Equipment care and handling for quarantine and anoxic treatments
  • Researches and establishes building-wide pest monitoring software with updated maps
  • Coordinates and implements IPM response action plans across the institution
  • Leads general training on IPM best practices for all staff, including new hires
  • Leads targeted training for collections care staff and the IPM-Action and IPM-Response teams, including:
    • Annual training on pest identification
    • Annual workshops on key aspects of IPM monitoring, prevention and remediation
  • Partners with Custodial Services and The Met’s commercial pest management contractors to incorporate IPM best practices
  • Advises and consults on IPM efforts related to The Met’s food service operation
  • Advises and consults on IPM requirements for all permanent exhibition and infrastructure modifications
  • Maintains an IPM intranet site
  • Creates and maintains pest collection sites
  •  Continuing education:
    • Represents the Met at MuseumPest/IPM-WG conferences
    • Initiates research requests to the Department of Scientific Research (DSR) and/or invites external speakers to understand the effect of pesticides on art objects
    • Initiates research requests to DSR and/or  invites  external speakers to understand the range of art materials that are safe to freeze
  • Drafts reports as needed on topics above
  • Other related duties and special projects


Experience and Skills:

  • At least  3 years  of experience  in    implementing  and administering  an IPM program  across an organization
  • Ability to lead teams and work collaboratively with staff across the museum at all levels
  • Thorough  knowledge of pest monitoring software (knowledge of buildings management software preferred)
  •  IPM certification preferred
  •  Proficient in Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint)
  •  Experience working with museum cataloguing systems with a strong preference for experience with The Museum System (TMS)
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and trafficking/project coordination skills
  • Excellent organizational and analytical skills

Knowledge and Education:

  • Extensive experience in pest management at a cultural, academic, or similar institution preferred
  • Master’s degree preferred but not required

The Metropolitan Museum of Art provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, alienage or citizenship status, marital status or domestic partner status, genetic information, genetic predisposition or carrier status, gender identity, HIV status, military status and any other category protected by law in all employment decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, training and apprenticeship, promotion, upgrading, demotion, downgrading, transfer, lay-off and termination, and all other terms and
conditions of employment.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – STASH Flash V Storage Tips Session

STASH_logoTo complement AIC’s 46th Annual Meeting conference theme, the 2018 STASH Flash Storage Tips session will focus on the interplay between the material composition of artifacts and the materials chosen for the construction of storage and support solutions. The program covering storage solutions for all collection types has been scheduled as part of the Collection Care session and will be followed by additional talks related to storage rehousing. The program will utilize a lightening round or “Tips” format as well as guided, audience participatory discussion.  We are calling for contributions of short (5 minute) tips on the following themes:

  • An item’s composition will affect the materials chosen for storage as well as the design. How is your storage solution guided by the relationship between collection materials and storage materials?
  • Quality materials appropriate for long-term storage are expensive. How have you adapted economical non-archival materials to make them safe for use in a storage solution?
  • Do you have a tips on a new material that will expand our range of choices for storage?
  • Innovative storage solutions for individual artifacts or collection groups that do not conform to either theme will be accepted if space allows.

Presenters will be asked to show up with their solution in a ready format for uploading to the STASH website after the conference.

To submit your ideas please send a short abstract including the following information to Rachael Arenstein ( or Lisa Goldberg ( by December 22, 2017.

Object/collection type:
And a description of approx. 150 words on the project

Thank you from the session organizers,

  • Lisa Goldberg, STASH Editorial Committee Chair
  • Rachael Arenstein, AIC e-Editor
  • Karen Pavelka, Collection Care Program Chair
  • Gretchen Guidess, Collection Care Program Committee

Abstracts for STASHc Flash IV Storage Tips session – May 29, 2017 at the AIC Annual Meeting

The 2017 STASH Flash storage tips session at the Chicago annual meeting will have three themes:

  1. Building on the conference theme Innovation in Conservation and Collection Care, the first group of presentations offer solutions that eliminate the need for treatment or complement an interventive treatment.
  2. The second group of presentations are supports that that serve more than one purpose such as storage, transport, and/or exhibition.
  3. Group three presentations focus on supports that can be mass produced to deal with collection-wide storage issues  as well as other novel ideas.

Presentations will be posted on the STASHc solutions pages after the meeting.

Group 1

Presenter(s): Clara Deck
Affiliation: The Henry Ford Museum
Collection type: Edison Diamond Disc Records
Abstract: THF counts among its wide-ranging collections a nearly complete run of the Edison Diamond Disc recordings, produced by Thomas A. Edison, Inc. from 1912 to 1929.  Played with a diamond stylus, these records are ¼” thick and made of a Bakelite-type plastic over a wood-pulp core. This collection is cataloged in over 6500 entries, which includes the 6000 discs. Most came directly to THF from the Edison factory in West Orange, NJ and are generally in excellent condition.  However, they are housed in their original acidic, wood-pulp paper jackets, which have become brittle over time. Some of the jackets bear unique printed information.  Handling closely-packed records in their original jackets causes damage. THF conservators worked with vendor Hollinger Metal-Edge to develop a custom-made preservation sleeve that will safely store the thicker-than-normal discs, as well as a “jacket-sling” to re-house the original record jacket. Some assembly is required.

Presenter(s): Basia Nosek and Susan Russick
Affiliation: Northwestern University Libraries
Collection type: Glass Plate Negatives
Abstract: Photographic materials on glass supports are prone to cracking, braking, and flaking emulsion. With large collections, treatment may not always be an option. For this reason, proper housing and implementation of preventive conservation methods is the only viable solution to prolong the longevity of the collections. While the National Archives’ recommendation of housing negatives individually in paper sleeves sounds straightforward, non-standard sizes, broken plates, and the need to maintain association with original envelope enclosures or groupings can complicate the process. By filling-in the negative space of standard four-flap enclosures we were able to accommodate different sizes and broken glass plates. Additionally, this method allowed us to keep all of the collection materials in standard size boxes. Ties and dividers were used to help indicate association of subsets of objects, keep items in order, and distinguish original housing groups. Lining boxes with foam and using corrugated board spacers added additional protection.

Presenter(s): Emilie Duncan
Affiliation: Graduate Fellow at Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation
Collection type: library/bound materials
Abstract: The separation of book spines from books, whether through natural deterioration or through treatment intervention, is commonly encountered in collections containing bound materials. Oftentimes – especially if the spine is leather – the replacement of the spine on the book is impractical or unsafe, as it can cause significantly more damage through continued use. As a result, there is a need for a storage solution that allows separated spines to be stored with their books. This can be achieved by modifying the design for a clamshell box to add a compartment to hold the spine. The compartment is located at the spine of the book, and has a Vivak window, allowing the leather spine to be visible while the box is closed and shelved. Not only is the spine material protected from the physical strains of being reattached to the book or flattened for traditional storage methods, but it remains intellectually and visually connected to the book from which it has physically been separated.

Presenter(s): Skyler Jenkins
Affiliation: Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona
Collection type: Ethnographic and Archaeological
Abstract: The Arizona State Museum (ASM) basketry collection became an official project of the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) program in 2011. Known as the Woven Wonders: Basketry Project, this effort addressed the need for new environmentally controlled, secure, unified space for over 35,000 catalogued items. Treatment protocols have been developed, approved, executed, and refined with funding from two IMLS awards. ASM’s five plus year long basketry project had many new treatment and storage techniques that evolved through collaborative treatment. Among these innovative ideas, an internal storage support for more flexible basketry material emerged. This allowed flexible baskets to be treated more easily, to be handled without damage, and to reduce the required space for storage. This session will explore the various types of internal supports created to be an alternative to unnecessarily large external supports, and to assist those who cannot expand their storage space.

Presenter(s):  Gretchen Anderson
Affiliation:  Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Collection type: Saddles
Abstract: Saddles are large and awkward to store.  They are often set on shelves or placed on sawhorses that are padded out with polyethylene foam.  Plastic sheeting is draped over them to protect them from dust and potential water drips.  The sawhorses take up a large foot print in a crowded storage room, and the legs are a tripping hazard. The sawhorses get moved around, creating additional risks for bumping and dropping the saddle.  This article describes a practical method to store saddles, improving support, maximizing space use, and generally protecting them in a cleaner and more efficient manner.  This system is primarily for long term storage, but can be adapted for display or for transport. The basic mounting system currently being used at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History will be detailed.  Refinements from the Science Museum of Minnesota will be described as well.

Group 2

Presenter(s): Connie Stromberg and Lara Kaplan
Affiliation: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Contract Objects Conservators (for Inaugural Exhibitions). Stromberg Conservation, LLC and Lara Kaplan Objects Conservation, LLC
Collection type: 369th Hellfighters Gas Mask and Canister, Historical Artifact
Abstract: This gas mask is part of the field equipment worn during WWI by a soldier in the 369th Infantry, an African-American regiment known as the Harlem Hellfighters. It consists of a canvas mask with glass eye pieces connected to a painted steel canister by a collapsible hose. The object was in very poor condition: the mask was extremely fragile with many tears; the hose had ripped loose from the mask, and was deteriorated, deformed, and splitting at the seams; and the canister was rusting and had lost about half of its paint. Slated to go on view in the inaugural exhibition of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, creative collaboration among conservators, mount makers, and curators was necessary to successfully treat and permanently support the mask for its safe display, transport, and storage.

Presenter(s): Rebecca Beyth
Affiliation: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Collection type: 3-D Object Collections
Abstract: In 2016, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum built a new off-site collections and conservation center to house its collections. The relocation from a previous off-site facility was critical to the museum’s preservation mission, and improved its storage, research and transportation capacity. Rehousing was necessary to safely transport many of the 3-D objects. An initial survey determined which 3-D objects required specialized housing. Staff used four common methods to house 3-D objects based on their material, size, shape and condition:

  1. Secure 3-D object to a tray, which could be removed from the box.
  2. Secure 3-D object directly into the box with ties.
  3. Secure 3-D object in the box using a shaped bumper, which is held in place by the box lid.
  4. Cavity pack 3-D object in the box.

Using these methods (with modifications as needed) the team successfully rehoused approximately two-thirds of the 3-D object collections, including all items classified as high-priority due to their material or condition.

Presenter(s): Vasarė Rastonis
Affiliation: Columbia University Libraries
Collection type: oracle bone enclosures
Abstract: Columbia University’s C.V.Starr East Asian Library contains one hundred and twenty eight oracle bones. These are the library’s oldest documents, some of which are dated as early as 1554 BCE. The bones had been stored in roughly two different manners; the first group of sixty three bones was enclosed in plexiglass sleeves with board inserts, and the second group of sixty five was housed in a variety of boxes and cardboard trays. In the Autumn of 2015 the storage methods were reviewed and revised with the assistance of Eugenie Milroy of A.M. Art Conservation. Upon consideration it was determined that the plexiglass enclosures of the first group were almost ideal and could be used with a few modifications and that the second group would be enclosed in a set of prefabricated boxes fitted with Volara® foam and Tyvek®. Although the two types of storage systems are quite different from one another, not only in their appearance but also in the amount of time needed to prepare them, they both achieve the desired goal of safely storing the oracle bone collection.

Presenter(s): Annie Hall
Affiliation: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Collection type: Product Design and Decorative Arts – smaller objects
Abstract: Cooper Hewitt’s recent mass digitization rapid capture project required the development of object support systems to safely and efficiently move over 30,000 objects from storage to the photographic stage and back to storage. A team of contract art handlers were hired by the mass digitization company and Cooper Hewitt staff were required to provide guidance and ensure handling protocols were in place. Systems for movement of object types were developed so the team could safely and efficiently move objects for each object category within the given time. A modular bin system with movable dividers was devised for smaller fragile objects such as glass and ceramics. Custom-sized cavities lined with Volara were constructed for each object and a previously designed object storage support system was modified to ensure objects were fully supported during the short trip to photography and back to storage.

Presenter(s):  Jakki Godfrey, Lisa Bruno, Carol Lee Shen
Affiliation:  Brooklyn Museum
Collection type: Ancient Egyptian Objects (but could be for any varied object collection)
Abstract:  From 2008-2012, 127 of the Brooklyn Museum’s ancient Egyptian objects traveled on a 12-venue loan exhibition.  To minimize handling, many objects were mounted to Medex boards or plinths for both transport and display. Boards and plinths were either coated in Zinsser® Shieldz® primer sealer, painted and padded out with polyethylene foam or covered with Marvelseal 360, padded out with polyethylene foam and/or polyester batting and covered in fabric.  Objects meant for vertical display included hanging hardware on the back of the transport/display board. Plinths used to display large heavy objects were furnished with handling access to fork lift or gantry in place. Many objects held up well during the exhibition tour; however some very fragile objects such as the Museum’s animal mummies suffered some damage. Methods for traveling these fragile objects has since been modified.

Group 3

Presenter(s): Hildegard Heine and JP Brown
Affiliation: The Field Museum, Chicago, IL
Collection type: Housings for lightweight oversize organic objects
Abstract: This presentation discusses a modular framing system that we adapted to make supports for fragile, oversize (and occasionally poisonous) organic objects from world cultures, especially oversize masks in the Pacific. Although the no ‘one size fits all’ approach is possible for these objects, we developed a housing design that can be customized to several different object geometries. The main construction material is lightweight, square-section aluminum structural framing tube. Polyethylene or Mylar sheet is stretched over the framing, providing a barrier to prevent loss of loose material and to mitigate against dust deposition, air currents, and damage during handling and transport.  The framing can also easily be modified to include bottom, top or side panels. A reversible flap sealed with a magnetic strip provides access for one side of the housing to allow for access. Handles attached to the framing permit easy transport of the entire structure. This modular framing system based on standard materials suits a wide range of object types and allows for flexibility in designing supports for specific object needs.

Presenter(s): Kate Wight Tyler
Affiliation: Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Collection type: Modular Support System for Decorative Arts Objects on Compact Shelving
Abstract: A reproducible storage system consisting of support components in standardized shapes and sizes was developed to respond to targeted collection-based needs at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Primary stability issues were first identified and categorized and support components were designed and manufactured to:

  • Stabilize vulnerable objects on mobile and static shelving
  • Economize shelf space
  • Promote visibility and access
  • Provide a mechanism for safe object handling
  • Economize supplies and resources
  • Encourage sustainability through re-use

The most useful and innovative designs were:

  • Circular Tyvek pillows filled with a mixture of polypropylene pellets and glass beads for weight
  • Accordion-fold divider system that was designed to efficiently re-house boxes of flatware (but could work well for other objects of similar size/shape – hairpins, fans, pens etc.) and was mass produced by Talas using their archival board.

A detailed description (including patterns and designs) for components and all materials and sources will be included.

Presenter(s): Louise Stewart Beck
Affiliation: The Henry Ford Museum
Collection type: Electrical objects; Scientific & Industrial Collection
Abstract: Thanks to a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, we are currently rehousing a collection of electrical artifacts. As we go through the process of removal from storage, conservation, digitization, and packing for transport and storage, we have encountered objects that present interesting packing challenges. These include objects without a stable resting position, extremely dense and heavy objects, and hazardous objects. Our presentation will demonstrate the materials and methods we have used to solve these issues, including ‘scaffolding’ for unstable objects and the accommodations that we have made for the high total weights that we are dealing with when palletizing. In addition, our conservation department frequently receives queries on the movement of this type of material from smaller institutions, and in response to that we have begun to work on a series of handling and packing videos that address scientific and industrial collections, including this project. Our presentation will include brief clips from that undertaking as well.

Presenter: Ben Fino-Radin
Affiliation: Associate Media Conservator, The Museum of Modern Art
Collection type: Digital Materials in Time-based Media Art Collections
Abstract: At many institutions and collections, increasingly, conservators of objects, paintings, prints, and photographs are tasked with the new and added responsibility of stewarding and defining the storage conditions for collections of time-based media art.  No matter how small the collection, the storage needs of the digital components of time-based media artworks, has ushered in the need for a wholly new set of vocabulary and skills and understanding in order to employ proper digital housing for transportation and transmission, and in order to collaborate with experts to specify a proper storage environment.  This lightning round will offer tips on the fundamental concepts and vocabulary needed in order to approach the housing and storage of digital materials in collections that include time-based media art.

Call for materials to be tested at The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s (The Met) Department of Scientific Research is embarking on an Institute of Museum and Library Services funded project to evaluate a wide variety of commonly used conservation, storage, shipping, and building supplies that are readily available and used in North America.  The goal is to determine the appropriateness of those materials for use near or in contact with cultural heritage objects, including natural history specimens. All results and data will be made publically available at no cost online.

We are currently seeking lists of the materials used by museums, libraries, archives, private conservators, collections managers, or anyone whose main business is the preservation, exhibition, transport, or handling of cultural heritage and natural history collections.  After collating and selecting a broad range of the most widely used and promising materials, we will conduct both the Oddy test and a chemical analysis of volatiles for each material.

If you are willing and interested in sharing information about materials used in your practice of preserving, displaying, storing, or shipping objects, please reply to to  The call for materials will be ongoing throughout the project, however, the main selection of materials for testing will occur by August 2017.  Those interested in contributing will be sent a basic spreadsheet where information such as make, model, supplier, and material type can be recorded.  Kindly note that we will select materials for testing based on this call; even if you utilize only a handful of materials, please consider contributing.

New Getty Course – Managing Collection Environments Initiative

Managing collection environments while providing long-term access to cultural materials requires a complex set of technical, analytical, and social skills. The preservation of collections has evolved into a discipline that takes into account the complexities and uncertainties present at all stages of environmental management. Recent and ongoing debate about appropriate climates has eroded the certainty of prescriptive approaches to reveal that no single field of study holds the solution and no one solution can be applied universally.
This innovative three-phase course brings together different disciplines, emerging knowledge, and the skills required to communicate and build consensus on the most appropriate approaches for climate control. It will provide up-to-date information that puts theory into practice and connects with participants’ working contexts by drawing on their experiences and by fostering continued learning through distance mentoring.

Detail of a chest of drawers from the J. Paul Getty Museum (83.DA.282)
Detail of a chest of drawers from the J. Paul Getty Museum (83.DA.282)

  • Phase 1 – Online Activities, Beginning March 2017 (ten weeks)
  • Phase 2 – Intensive Workshop, June 5–16, 2017 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia
  • Phase 3 – Distance Mentoring, Beginning July 2017 (six months)

The course aims to disseminate recent research and thinking on technical aspects of environmental management while enhancing participants’ critical thinking and analysis of different kinds of information, and enhancing their decision making and influence within institutional frameworks.
The course seeks to provide participants with:

  • Updated and refreshed technical knowledge to analyze and communicate collection risks
  • Ability to discuss management of collection climates from the perspectives of architects, conservators, curators, facilities managers, scientists, and institutional administrators by blending the experience and knowledge of experts with participants’ own situations
  • Ability to set problems and solutions into institutional frameworks while exploring decision making that balances all issues and stakeholders and builds towards institutional consensus
  • Ability to develop holistic, sustainable solutions based on the needs and capacities of participants’ institutions
  • A network of professionals dedicated to sustainable preservation of historic materials

Benefits to participants

  • Case-based learning and in-practice mentoring that blends learning with participants’ own experience
  • Improved skills to communicate and justify ideas and to understand and respond collaboratively to other perspectives and needs
  • Insight into perspectives and activities of other disciplines connected to collection preservation
  • Enhanced ability to manage and facilitate change
  • Strengthened contacts within and beyond participants’ institutions

Benefits to participants’ institutions

  • Foster cooperation, communication, and understanding within the institution
  • Improved personal and professional competence of staff, to achieve institution’s mission and manage change
  • Demonstrated commitment to sustainable environmental practice
  • Strengthened internal and external networks
  • Prepared staff to undertake future roles at institution

The course will cover a range of topics including, but not limited to: climates and building envelopes, material response to climate, causes and concepts of damage, monitoring and data analysis, risk-based approaches, sustainable options for control and management practices, long-term strategies, program briefing, strategies for communication and leadership.
Learning Strategy
To support informative classroom discussion and embed learning in practice, the course begins online with tasks, readings, and discussion. All participants are required to complete a number of assignments during this first phase. Some assignments require information-gathering and consultation with other institutional colleagues. Participants should anticipate two to three hours of assigned work each week during this ten-week phase.
The second phase is an intensive two-week interdisciplinary workshop at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The third and final phase of the course is a six-month distance mentoring program individualized to each participant.
Participants are required to actively participate in all three phases of the course.
Vincent Beltran, Getty Conservation Institute
Foekje Boersma, Getty Conservation Institute
Walt Crimm, Walt Crimm Associates
Pamela Hatchfield, Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Michael C. Henry, Watson & Henry Associates
Wendy Jessup, Wendy Jessup Associates
Jeremy Linden, Image Permanence Institute
Michal Lukomski, Getty Conservation Institute
Bob Norris, Magic Hat Consulting
Patricia Silence, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Joel Taylor, Getty Conservation Institute
This course is open to eighteen mid- to senior-level professionals whose responsibilities include conservation management, collection management, or facility management for collections in cultural institutions, such as museums, libraries, and archives. Participants should be based at an institution or directly contribute to an institution’s mission through long-term consultancy or support. Participants may act as a focal point for an internal network in their institution or project, especially during the mentoring phase.
Participants should be able to understand and discuss technical and scientific literature dealing with the collection environments.
The working language of the course is English.
The total cost of the course is US$750, includes all three phases of the course: online activities, workshop and six-month mentoring period. The cost does not include travel to Philadelphia, accommodations, or meals.
To Apply
Application deadline is November 30, 2016.  For application instructions and forms please visit the course page on the Getty website 
Applicants will be notified of the status of their application by January 13, 2017. If you have questions about the course, the application process or require additional information, please contact

Conservator Position at Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum

Announcing a full time Conservation position at the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.  Interested persons should send resume and cover letter to:
Tara Backhouse
Collections Manager
Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum
tarabackhouse<-a t->semtribe< . >com
The Conservator reports to the Collections Manager and is responsible for all aspects of conservation treatment for the STOF Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum’s permanent collections.  This position also coordinates and manages the conservation program for the Museum’s collections and exhibitions.  This is a full-time position.  Only US Citizens and Permanent Residents are eligible to apply.
Illustrative Tasks: The listed duties are only illustrative and are not intended to describe every function that may be performed by this position.  The omission of specific statements does not preclude management from assigning specific duties not listed, if such duties are a logical assignment to the position.

  • Administrates a conservation program designed to meet the conservation/preservation needs of STOF Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum’s permanent collections.
  • Coordinates collections care with the Collections Manager and Registrar.
  • Plans, implements and reviews care of Museum collections.
  • Monitors conditions of works in storage, exhibition, and transit environments.
  • Advises Museum staff and the public on the care of permanent collections.
  • Manages in-house conservation laboratory.  Responsible for the selection of appropriate conservation supplies, tools, and equipment; maintenance of tools/equipment and establishment of quality control procedures to verify the adherence of products to standards.
  • Evaluates and improves efficiencies of workflow while ensuring accepted conservation-sound practices and safe lab protocols.
  • Works with exhibition staff in preparing exhibits to ensure proper environment for objects.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Experience in a wide range of conservation treatment procedures.  The museum is willing to consider conservators with various specialties including paper, objects, paintings, or textiles.

  • Excellent computer skills utilizing Microsoft software programs and add-ins.
  • Ability to communicate in English both orally and in writing.
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to multi-task.
  • Skill in examining and assessing condition of artifacts or works of art; establishing and maintaining optimum environmental conditions; use of laboratory equipment.
  • Ability to determine and perform techniques required for preservation and/or restoration of objects.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Strong communication skills and ability to maintain effective working relationships.
  • Capable of handling multiple projects and able to see projects to a point of completion.
  • Ability to serve the Tribal community, the public and fellow employees with honesty and integrity.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with the STOF tribal community, general public, co-workers and members of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
  • Ability to work a flexible work schedule including evenings, weekends and holidays.
  • Ability to travel as necessary.

Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree required.  Master’s degree required in art conservation, or related field.  A minimum of two years of experience/training as a conservator in a museum or similar  facility.
Physical Demands: Typically, the incumbent may sit comfortably to do the work; there may be occasional walking, standing, bending, carrying of light items, such as books, papers; may drive a company vehicle.  No special physical demands are required to perform the work.  Certain conditions utilizing various chemicals needed for conservation work will exist.

Speakers announced for SI/MCI Mechanics of Art Materials event

Arts & Industries Building, Smithsonian Institution
Arts & Industries Building, Smithsonian Institution

The Museum Conservation Institute in collaboration with the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK) is pleased to announce the speakers for our upcoming event “The Mechanics of Art Materials and its Future in Heritage Science: A Seminar and Symposium,” to be held at the Smithsonian Institution on October 24-25, 2016. This program brings experts in mechanics research from across the globe to discuss current and future trends in the study and preservation of cultural heritage. Speakers will represent a continuum of this research, from its origins to those professionals currently working to shape their field and train future generations of scholars. This special event is designed to honor previous research while encouraging forward thinking through opportunities to meet and hear from scholars at the forefront of innovative mechanics research in the cultural heritage sector.
Day One of the program will feature the popular paint mechanics workshop created and taught by MCI scientist emeritus Marion Mecklenburg, condensed into a single-day seminar. The morning program on Day Two will feature an international group of speakers presenting case studies on the state of mechanics research around the globe, while the afternoon program will feature emerging U.S.-based speakers and their thoughts on the future of the field.  We are excited to announce that the following speakers have been confirmed for Day Two of this event:

  • Cecil Andersen (Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts) and Laura Fuster-López (Polytechnic University of Valencia)
  • Roman Kozłowski (Jerzy Haber Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences)
  • Stina Ekelund (Netherlands Institute for Scientific Research)
  • Nobuyuki Kamba (Tokyo National Museum)
  • Poul Klenz Larsen (National Museum of Denmark) and Morten Ryhl-Svendsen (Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts)
  • Michał Lukomski (Getty Conservation Institute)
  • Alice Carver-Kubik (Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • Ken Shull (Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts)
  • Lukasz Bratasz (Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University)

This intensive, two-day event will provide attendees with an overview of the behavior of art materials and connect that information directly to the activities of those scholars currently shaping the field of heritage mechanics studies. Day Two presentations will focus on the impact of mechanics research in the cultural heritage sector with talks on topics including risk assessment and collections monitoring, the fiscal impact of changes in collections care, new protocols for transit and storage environments, and the application of mechanics research to decorative and archival collections as well as to materials found in contemporary art. Day Two will conclude with a panel discussion on advancing stakeholder participation in mechanics research and application. A post-event publication will include a historiography of mechanics research at the Smithsonian, the case studies and vision papers prepared by the Day Two speakers, Dr. Mecklenburg’s 1982 unpublished report to the Smithsonian on the mechanical behavior of painting materials, and a bibliography of Smithsonian heritage mechanics publications.
We are anticipating registration for this two-day event to be priced at $50 (to include coffee/tea breaks and lunch on both days. There is no single-day registration option. Schedule and registration for this event will be announced at If you have any questions, please contact Dawn Rogala, paintings conservator at the Museum Conservation Institute, at
This event is designed to engage and inform a broad audience of scholars, students, practitioners, and policy makers. We hope to see you in October!