Conservation

Conservation Framing is recommended for any artwork which holds a significant value for the owner of the art. This perceived value may be monetary, sentimental, historical or any combination of these things. Items such as these deserve a little extra care in the way they are handled and framed in order to preserve their value for many years to come.

The terms Conservation Framing, Preservation Framing and Museum Framing are often used interchangeably, although there are subtle differences in what is implied by each phrase. Conservation framing is probably the most recognizable term, but we prefer to call what we do Preservation framing for the following reason: the term conservation implies that something is being done which will improve the condition of the artwork- we leave this up to professional conservators who have the skills and training to repair damaged items. We endeavour to preserve your art in its' current condition by offering the most stable environment possible. We use the term Museum framing to describe a narrowly focused type of preservation framing in which art is displayed in a plain and conservative fashion using only the most tried and true materials and methods which give the ultimate protection to the art but at the expense of many decorative design considerations.  

The main factors which can affect the longevity of all artwork are as follows: light, heat, acidity, humidity, airborne pollutants, insects and mould. The techniques of Preservation framing attempt to control the impact which these factors can have on the deterioration of  your precious art.

Light - can be defended against by the use of  ultraviolet filtering glass which will cut out up to 97% of the most damaging UV wavelengths.

Heat -  something as seemingly inconsequential as the rubber bump-ons on the back of the frame can allow better air circulation around the frame and help even out variations in temperature which may be transmitted through an exterior wall.

Acidity - (ph level) by using only the best materials with a neutral ph level for matting and mounting within the frame package, ph can be maintained at an acceptable level for an indefinite amount of time. Chemical buffering of mat and mount boards with calcium carbonate provides an alkiline reserve within the board to combat external acidity introduced by airborne pollutants. Some boards also utilize microchamber filtering technology in manufacture which allows excess acidity to be safely trapped and neutralized over the life of the frame.

Humidity - high quality mat and backing boards will absorb and release miniscule amounts of moisture within the frame in response to changes in temperature. This provides a buffering effect, protecting the artwork from large swings in relative humidity which could cause condensation or excessive dryness and embrittlement within the frame package

Airborne pollutants, Insects, Mould - a well sealed dust cover gives adequate protection against these factors, but an additional level of protection can be supplied by the process of tape fitting the glass, mat and backing with a good quality polyester or mylar tape prior to fitting into the frame.


All techniques used in conservation framing should be completely reversible and materials used should have no damaging effects on artwork contained within the frame. The only adhesive recommended for contact with paper artwork is cooked wheat or rice starch paste produced with purified water. We follow the PPFA guidelines for framing works of art on paper--please feel free to ask us for more detailed information on how we will handle your precious artwork in order to preserve it for enjoyment by future generations!

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