Monday, July 09, 2007

Safe storage of Movie memorabilia

Safe and secure storage of any memorabilia should include an environment free of acids, moisture or other treatments that may degrade or damage the piece. A lobby card or poster, for instance, should be stored in a binder of pH neutral ploy bags, or in individual acid-free poly bags, or framed with "archival" methods. It is generally best to ensure minimal contact with any material that may contain acid or other corrosive chemicals; of note is that such common, commercially-available materials as cardboard are very often acidic, and in that case should never be used to store or back memorabilia, especially paper memorabilia.

When framing memorabilia, it is also considered best to use a shop or framer who guarantees a complete "archival" process from start to finish. Archival methods are designed with an eye towards preserving the piece. This generally includes UV-blocking conservation glass to prevent fading and acid-free and lignin-free mats and backing.

There are several kinds of conservation glass, ranging from the slightly-fuzzy "non-glare" to the clear and reflection-resistant "museum" type. These different types of glass vary greatly in price both from each other and from region to region, but modern conservation glasses all offer equal UV protection, and thus which glass one chooses to use is more a matter of taste and budget than anything else. While oil paintings, acrylic paintings, many statues and figures, and certain mixed media pieces can be framed without glass, it is advisable to frame any cloth or paper piece (including photos, posters, maps, etc.) under glass. Additionally, it is very important to prevent the glass from touching the piece, as any moisture that gathers on the inside of the glass could easily be transferred to the memorabilia, and cause mold, mildew or water damage (for instance, brown spots known as "foxing" can appear on water-damaged paper); however, glass is easily kept away from a piece by the use of plastic spacers or by paper mats, the latter of which can even be used to hold the piece in place without the use of glue or tape on the piece itself.

It is not generally recommended that pieces be glued or taped down (though cloth pieces can usually be sewn down safely), as many commercially available glues are not acid-free and can be difficult to remove later; masking tape, for instance, often leaves yellow-brown marks over time on paper pieces and is also somewhat difficult to remove. In addition to the problems of acidity or removal, improperly-spread glue can cause rippling or buckling in paper. It is generally more advisable to hold a piece in place with mats (which can be hinged to the backing so that they rest on, rather than stick on, the piece), mylar photo corners, acid-free thread or clear plastic cords than it is to glue or tape it to the backing.


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