Exhibiting Collections with Preservation

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Nicki Garces …

Nicki Garces
Valancy Rasmussen
Sarah Vornholt

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  • Collections of exhibits are combined to form exhibition (Falk et al, 2007)
  • Eugene Dillenburg is a professor of Museum Studies at Michigan State University
  • Other organizations have exhibition preservation standards, also, such as the ALA and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
  • goal fuses both the concerns/duties of the exhibit specialists and conservators to make sure documents, books, prints and artifacts are not not damaged in course of mounting or as result of environmental conditions over the duration of the show  -Balloffet & Hill (2005)
  • items displayed in exhibits are exposed to more dangers than in storage such as light, environment, etc.
  • Loans to other institutions for consultation or for exhibition may involve risk or damage. The librarian has a duty to see that such requests, if granted, involve the borrower’s making adequate provisions for safekeeping.
  • storage: below 70 degrees F and RH between 30-50% one reccomendation: 60 degrees F and RH of 50% When considering exhibition space, monitor the space a year in advance to see what you can realistically achieve at different times of the year   times with low humidity not good for parchment-covered books, parchment documents, photographs, leather-covered books, books with wooden boards  
  • -lux hours are determined by multiplying the level of light by hours the object is exposed to light   - lux = lumens per square meter   -set light levels at 50 lux (5 footcandles [fc]) essential for exhibitions on paper, drawings and water colors, feathers and other light-sensitive organic materials (Lord and Lord, 2009)   -150-200 lux (15-20 fc) for oil  and acrylic paintings and other moderately light sensitive objects   -300 lux (30 fc) for ceramics, glass, stone and most metals (not light sensitive)   -120,000-50,000 lux-hours per annum propose for highly sensitive 50-lux items (paper, textiles)   -on an average clear day, there is about 10,000 lux
  • blue wool cards   -also called blue scales or textile cards   -cut one card in half and place on card in the exhibit and one in a protected envelope in a dark location   -it will help determine the amount of fading that has occurred in the exhibit      
  • -paper is very light sensitive    -light can darken paper     -damage can go beyond visible, and can seriously damage in structure of the paper    -damage from light is irreversible
  • Florescent lighting -negatives: can not be dimmed, emit UV rays -negatives: can not be dimmed, emit UV rays -there are some that give off low UV ranging from .5%-12%   -lights can be covered with UV protective sleeves   Incandescent lamps (tungsten) -positives: can have dimmers, little to no UV rays -normal house bulb is an incandescent light   Halogen lights   -positives: can be dimmed, filters can be used -negatives: give off UV rays
  • Fiber Optic -Fibre optics feature very low UV and no heat emission from the fittings at the end of the fibre optic cables.    LED -total absence of damaging UltraViolet (UV) light emissions. -energy saving -potential to increase lighting levels in light-sensitive areas or to safely keep fragile exhibits open for longer periods of time - which means a better experience for visitors and less time and expense in changing exhibits.
  • -natural light has intense UV contents     -light damage is cumulative   -exposure to low light for a long period of time can be as damaging as exposure to intense light for a short period of time   -UV filters on windows, cases, and/or frames   -can be cut with scissors and applied directly to the windows    -negatives: film can be unattractive and difficult to remove at a later date, short life span     -positives: inexpensive    -a more expensive option is ridged panels 
  • -anodized aluminum or coated steel are good to use but expensive wood: -used because it is easy, available, and nice looking   -oak is the most harmful of woods   -wood to use if needed: African mahogany    -wood can be used for the outside and not lining the case    -wood case is over $2000    -aluminum case is over $5000
  • -paper materials should always be displayed in a case or in frames -cases and frames protect against airborne hazards as well as the public (who need protecting from!) -it is not possible to prevent moisture and humidity in cases   -off-gassing is not an obvious problem, but is damaging to materials on display    -off-gassing can come from display cases that are newer and do not comply with exhibition standards   -some conservators recommend holes in the cases for the items to breath, dust pollutants can get into the case   -there is not way to cost-effective way to measure off-gassing 
  • oak bookshelves can be lined with polyester (Mylar)
  • -crystalline (Being, relating to, or composed of crystal or crystals) material that sustains a state of dryness    -helps stabilize the RH (relative humidity) if well sealed    -it comes in gels, beads, sheets, and cassettes    -the gel will absorb moisture when the humidity is too high and release moisture when it is too dry    -most absorb up to 40% of their own weight of moisture   -instructions in manual will tell you how to condition the gel prior to application    -regular silica gel is white    -indicating silica gel can be blue or orange   -when saturated it becomes a different color    -much more expensive    -indicating on Gaylord archival supplies: $27 for a pound    -non-indicating: $16 a pound
  • -volumes must be displayed horizontally    -Books should be strapped with polythene to tailor-made card or acrylic cradles which accurately follow the profile of the opened or closed book. Books generally should not be displayed at an angle greater than 20° from horizontal, nor opened wider than 120°, and should be provided with a text-block support when appropriate. (180° is preferred or whatever angle the book is most comfortable, with no pressure on the spine)   -custom made cradles to fit each volume are recommended   -should be large enough to support the entire book  -if the book will not stay open, polyester slips should be made to place around each side of the book   -turn the pages every few days to prevent the text from becoming exposed to long durations of light  
  • Not necessary or possible to exhibit original prints, documents and photographs always can make good quality copies --sometimes copy easier to read than original --some docs and photographs have inscriptions on the back copies can show these (show side by side with the front) --brief exposure to the light during copying process is far less damaging to the original than being on exhibit for several weeks or months store copy separate from original (especially for future use in another exhibit)
  • -Window matting is generally reserved for works of art on paper, such as drawings, paintings, watercolors, and prints; and for photographs and documents, such as birth or marriage certificates, old land deeds, and diplomas, especially if they are decorated .    -Many matboards in the stores are poor quality. -in poor quality boards the board darkens with age -wood frames can “burn” the document or image as can mats    -if the item is 1” away from the frame it seems to be safe


  • 1. Exhibiting Collections LIS 619 Team 4 Nicki Garces Valancy Rasmussen Sarah Vornholt October 25, 2011
  • 2. Agenda• Introduction to exhibits• The standards in exhibit preservation & conservation• The use of technology• Short "field trip" to Curators Choice Exhibition
  • 3. Introduction to ExhibitsExhibit:"A physical object placed on display in a museum, gallery orother public place, usually because of its historical, cultural, orscientific importance or its aesthetic qualities, extraordinarycharacteristics or monetary value. Libraries typically exhibitrare and valuable books, manuscripts, personal papers andmemorabilia associated with authorship, publishing, bookhistory, and reading. Exhibits may be permanent or rotateperiodically, depending on the availability of materials suitablefor display and the policy of the library." -ABC-CLIO Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science
  • 4. Definition (cont)"An exhibit is a physical environment designed for theexperience of embedded knowledge." -Eugene Dillenburg, 2011• Information of the items are imbedded based on how the items are displayed• An exhibit is a medium of media (utilization of sound, written word, image, moving image, performance, etc.) in which someone can immerse him/herself in• An experience https://www.msu.edu/~dillenbu/
  • 5. Reasons for Exhibits and ExhibitionsMuseums Libraries & Archives-To foster discussion, -To show off their-Challenge the visitor, collections to the public-Make connections to including newly acquiredissues that interest the acquisitions,visitor, and -Traveling exhibits, and-Provide guidance for -As community/publicapplications to the world spaces, local artists and organizations can showcase their work or "collections"
  • 6. U.S. National Park Service • Published Exhibit Conservation Guidelines: Incorporating Conservation into Exhibit Planning, Design and Fabrication (1999) • Guidelines and standards created due to past conflicts between exhibit specialists http://www.nps.gov/index.htm and conservators -Lack of training and preparation for museum staff on preservation -Lack of cross-training between exhibit specialists and conservators -"Evolution of a flawed exhibit development process" -Tradition of poor communication
  • 7. Exhibit Preservation & ConservationGoal:"to design and produce preservation-friendlyexhibits that attract and inform the public." -Toby J. Rafael (2005)
  • 8. The Importance of Standards• Sets guidelines and regulations for basic responsible preservation that can be followed• Allows compliance and acceptability in the field for preserving artifacts• To protect the items• Allows for collaborative team work(many museum exhibition and conservationguidelines and standards can be directly transferredto libraries and archives)
  • 9. First Steps to Exhibiting the Materials– Select items that are fit to display.– A record of all items exhibited should be kept. o Assessment of their condition before going on display o Call numbers of books o Exact pages displayed o Length of exhibit o Environmental conditions3. For items on loan, both the lending institution andborrowing institution should make adequateprovisions for safekeeping.
  • 10. The EnvironmentTemperature & Humidity• Same temperature and humidity requirements as special collections storage area• RH (relative humidity) should be constant and moderate for length of the show• Make sure all windows are sealed for air quality control• For libraries and archives: when considering exhibition space, monitor the space a year in advance
  • 11. LUX Concept• Lux = lumens per square meter• Lumens = amount of light omitted from a source• 50 lux essential for exhibitions on paper, drawings and water colors, feathers and other light-sensitive organic materials• 150-200 lux for oil and acrylic paintings and other moderately light sensitive objects• 300 lux for ceramics, glass, stone and most metals (not light sensitive)• 120,000-50,000 lux-hours per annum propose for highly sensitive 50-lux items (i.e., paper, textiles)• 10,000 lux on a clear day
  • 12. Example of the Affects of Light• 5 mlux hours = 20 years on display at standards. Picassos Woman with a Flower (watercolor on paper)• (a) 0 Mlux-hrs (b) 1.8 Mlux-hrs (c) 8.4 Mlux-hrs (d) 229 Mlux-hrs
  • 13. Blue Wool Cards Al= aluminum foil UV= UV filter Difference is shown after 8 months facing a window (sunlight).
  • 14. Lighting in Exhibits Albert Einsteins Original Theory of Relativity Manuscript Goes on Display
  • 15. Artificial Lighting • Florescent Lighting • Incandescent Lamps • Halogen Lights Fiber Optic Lighting Options
  • 16. Fiber Optics and LED Lighting Yale School of Medicine: Crushing Center Fiber Optic Lighting Options
  • 17. UV and Materials• Solutions to UV natural light and artificial lighting (Vancouver Public Library Photographer: Alex Ramon - July 2005)
  • 18. Cases for Exhibition• Wood cases • Anodized Aluminum Oak Case Aluminum Case
  • 19. Dangers of Cases• Off-Gasing: evaporation of volatile chemicals in non-metallic materials at normal atmospheric pressure. o Dangerous Case Materials  polyurethanes  green woods  wood paneling  plywood  particle board  newsprint, construction paper, kraft paper, wrapping paper
  • 20. Barrier Materials• Safe barrier materials o some plastics including polyethylene, polypropylene o glass o ArtCor or FoamCor (laminated panel board) o fishing line o velcro o acid free archival papers• Safe fabrics o unbleached linens washed in hot with no detergent• Unsafe fabrics o wool o carpets o fabrics treated with fire-retardants
  • 21. Silica Gel Silica Gel Pack Gaylord: Indicating Silica Gel
  • 22. How to Display Books• Sensitive paper should not be displayed longer than 3 months in a period of two years Yale Law Rare Library: Medieval Exhibit
  • 23. Photographs• Possible and recommended to display reproductions of photographs Wisconsin Library Heritage Museum Advertising Envelope
  • 24. Matboards for Framing Border from a Poor Quality Mat
  • 25. Preservation andExhibitions Technology• Virtual Exhibitions• Digital Materials• Specialty Equipment and Security for Exhibitions
  • 26. Virtual ExhibitionsBibliothèque Nationale de Francehttp://expositions.bnf.fr/usindex.htm
  • 27. Digital MaterialsBibliothèque Nationale de France -digital collectionshttp://gallica.bnf.fr/
  • 28. Specialty Equipment and Security forExhibitions• Louvre-- the Mona Lisa• National Archives-- the Declaration of Independence• Specialty products• Protection from human damage
  • 29. Louvre--the Mona Lisa-Moved in 2005 into specially designed case.-Fitted with new devices to protect from cracking and tomonitor relative humidity and temperature.http://www.cyf-kr.edu.pl/~ncbratas/oslo/UzielliOslo2010.pdf
  • 30. National Archives--the Declaration of Independence -Case design and properties -Previous light damagehttp://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration.html
  • 31. Specialty Museum Equipment-Goppionhttp://www.goppion.com/en/welcome.htm
  • 32. -Glasbau Hahnhttp://www.glasbau-hahn.de/english/vitrinen/vitrinen_en.php
  • 33. Protection from Human Damage• Attacks on the Mona Lisa• Attacks at the National Gallery
  • 34. References"About the Louvre". http://www.louvre.fr/llv/musee/liste_metiers.jsp?bmLocale=en"The Declaration of Independence: A History".http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_history.html“Matting and Framing” American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works,accessed October 21, 2011,http://www.conservation-us.org/_data/n_0001/resources/live/mattingandframing.pdf"Mona Lisa Gains a New Louvre Home", BBC News, (April 6, 2005).http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4413303.stmBalloffet, Nelly and Hille, Jenny. Preservation and Conservation for Libraries and Archives.Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 2005.Dillenburg, Eugene. “What, if Anyting, Is a Museum?” Exhibitionist 30, no. 1 (Spring 2011), pp.9-13.Falk, John H., Lynn D. Dierking and Susan Foutz (eds.) In Principle, In Practice: Museums asLearning Institutions. New York, NY: Altamira Press, 2007.Glaser, Mary Todd. "Protecting Paper and Book Collections During Exhibition" NortheastDocument Conservation Center (2007), accessed October 21, 2011,http://www.nedcc.org/resources/leaflets/2The_Environment/05ProtectingCollections.php
  • 35. Gorman, G.E. and Sydney J. Shep, Preservation Management for Libraries, Archives andMuseums, (London: Facet Publishing, 2006), 223.Laboratorio Museotecnicio Goppion. Projects- Musée du Louvre, Salle des Etats (Mona Lisaroom). http://www.goppion.com/en/progetti_show.asp?ID=30Jordon, Anne. “Exhibit Mounting Variations For Objects On Paper” Conserv-O-Gram, 13-04National Park Service (1993), accessed October 21, 2011,http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/13-04.pdfLord, Gail D. and Lord, Barry. The Manual of Museum Management, 2nd edition. New York,NY: Altamira Press, 2009.Martin, Susan B. “Polyester Film Book Supports” Conserv-O-Gram Vol. 18-01, National ParkService, accessed October 21, 2011,http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/18-01.pdfMaverick, Vance. "The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in Storage", 2003.http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/the-declaration-of-independence-and-the-consMerriam-Webster Dictionary, s.v. "Relative Humidity,"http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relative%20humidityMorris, Hannah R. “‘Virtual Fading’ of Art Objects: Simulating the Future Fading of Artifacts byVisualizing Micro-Fading Test Results” Journal of the American Institute for Conservation Vol.46, No. 3 (Fall - Winter, 2007) : 215-228, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40024996Munro, Susan Nash. “Window Mats For Paper Objects” Conserv-O-Gram Vol. 13-01, National
  • 36. Munro, Susan Nash. “Window Mats For Paper Objects” Conserv-O-Gram Vol. 13-01,National Park Service, accessed October 21, 2011,http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/13-01.pdfRitzenthaler, Mary Lynn and Catherine Nicholson, "A New Era Begins for the Charters ofFreedom", 2003. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters_preservation_01.htmlSamuel, Henry. "Woman Attacks Mona Lisa", The Telegraph, (August 11, 2009).http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/6009693/Woman-attacks-Mona-LisTrescott, Jacqueline and Timothy R. Smith. "Gauguin Masterpiece Unharmed After Attackat National Gallery", The Washington Post, (April 4, 2011).http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/6009693/Woman-attacks-Mona-LisRaphael, Toby J. "Preventative Conservation and the Exhibition Process: Development ofExhibit Guildlines and Standards for Conservation." Journal of American Institute forConservation 44 (2005): 245-257,http://cool.conservation-us.org/jaic/articles/jaic44-03-008_indx.htmlReitz, Joan M. Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science. ABC-CLIO, accessedOctober 20, 2011, http://www.abc-clio.com/ODLIS/searchODLIS.aspxVisser, Michelle. “Considerations in the Preparation of Library Exhibits Featuring RareBooks and Manuscripts.” College and Undergraduate Libraries, Vol. 11, Issue 2(December, 2004) : 51-62, accessed October 21, 2011,http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/13-01.pdf