Masterclass: Conservation for Non-Conservators

The Health Museum’s staff recently refreshed their skills in the preventative conservation of collection objects in the beautiful setting of the Mortlock Library, Adelaide.

Part of the day included hands on practice making mounts to display museum photographs, books, and artwork.

Japanese tissue paper was used to make corners for artwork and photographs to keep them secure behind framed glass.  Conservators and libraries use this paper as it contains less impurities than other papers, is long lasting, and has low abrasion. The corners are made is such a way that no adhesive touches precious collection pieces.

The upper corners fold out so the artwork can be removed easily without bending.
Jacquelyne from the Health Museum uses Japanese tissue paper to secure an image for framing.

A variety of different shaped corners were made from clear Mylar for displaying photographs mounted on a backboard with no frame.

Left: three corners of various sizes and designs made from Mylar.

Above: a ‘made to measure’ book cradle. A strip of clear Mylar can be used to gently hold pages flat for display.

‘Made to measure’ book cradles are a great solution for keeping books well supported while on display. The shape and size of a cradle is determined by book binding type, hard or soft cover, and of course, the book dimensions. If the book is displayed open this can put undue pressure on the spine and the pages, so angles are also considered in the construction.

Margot and Jonathan from the Health Museum showing their handmade book cradles
A book cradle made from acid free card

The workshop was a part of the AICCM Exhibitions SIG symposium, Exhibitions: Inclusive and Sustainability Practice. We would like to thank the team at Artlab, Adelaide;  AICCM; and the State Library of South Australia for conducting the workshop and Conservation Supplies Australia who kindly provided the materials for the day.

Written by Jacquelyne Ladner, CALHN Health Museum