For display, ceramics and glass objects should be placed on a sturdy level surface away from high traffic areas. Microcrystalline wax can be applied to the bottom of the object to help secure it to the display surface. Be very careful with this wax, it can stain both the display surface and the object and can also be very hard to remove. Check with a qualified conservator if you have not used microcrystalline wax before.
Plates can also be safely displayed upright on a flat surface with a custom mount that provides secure support without exerting pressure on the edges. Points of contact on the mount should be lined with felt to prevent rubbing and chipping.
To display an object, such as a plate, vertically on a wall, don’t use the commercially available spring-loaded wire mounts. These cause what is known as point loading, that is, all the weight of the object is borne by a prong or clip that is very small. This exerts a dangerous amount of pressure on a small area and commonly causes chipping. Instead, use a mount specifically made for the object that supports without pressure. Points of contact should be lined with felt.
Contact Guardian if you need a professional mountmaker with museum experience to design and construct a mount for your precious object.
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Although glass and ceramic objects are made with different methods and materials, over time they are equally susceptible to deterioration. Both means of production are fraught with challenges. Invisible, internal cracks may be present in an object from the time of manufacture due to unknown substances in the materials or uneven cooling methods.
The biggest danger of damage to ceramic and glass ceramic objects is during handling. Before touching or moving any object, carefully inspect the surface for hairline cracks, chips, or other damage. Treat the object as if it were more fragile than it appears. Before moving the object, confirm there is a clear path to the object’s new destination and a sturdy, level surface on which to place it. Ideally, use a padded, acid free box to carry the object to its new location. If you must carry it in your hands, be sure to wear latex gloves and grasp the body of the object, not the rim or handles. Lids on vessels should be removed and carried separately. Place your object in a case to protect it from dust and bumping. More on proper display in our next proper storage tip post for objects.
If you need help moving an object or collection to a new location, please contact Guardian. Whether moving a piece within your home or across the country, our trained art handlers use museum best practices to move art and objects safely.
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Do you have important documents, records, or works on paper that you store at home? Take this time of social distancing as an opportunity to implement proper storage and preventive conservation measures for those objects. Paper is inherently fragile and should be stored in acid-free boxes, folders, envelopes etc. Specific recommendations for storage of paper objects vary based on size and type of paper. Overall, storing paper objects in buffered folders within archival boxes on proper shelving is optimal. This creates a micro-environment that protects against light damage, dust, and fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
If you have questions about the condition of your paper objects, need archival storage supplies, or need a safe place to store them, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help.
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