As you think about the best ways to protect your personal collection - whether it be paintings, photographs, or sculptures - the storage area itself should be a foundational consideration.
If possible, select a storage space for your collection that is neither at the top of the building nor below grade, this will help with temperature and humidity control. Additionally, selected storage areas should ideally not have mechanical systems running through them, nor should there be windows. We understand that these criteria are often hard to meet at private residences, but Guardian Fine Art Services offers storage areas that meet the highest standards of object storage. Guardian has no minimums. Securely store one item in our Managed Storage area or an entire collection in a Private Vault.
If you have questions or need a safe place to store your collection, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help!
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The condition of a book can be preserved by taking basic preventive measures. Books, like all collectibles are susceptible to damage due to environmental conditions. Over time, light, temperature, and humidity are the biggest factors. Protect books from exposure to natural and artificial light - especially compact fluorescent. Keep the lights off and shades or curtains drawn in your library when it is not in use. Fixtures with LED lamps are the safest option for illumination.
Don’t store books in areas that are susceptible to temperature fluctuation. Avoid shelves next to fireplaces and radiators and on outside facing walls. As is true for many collectibles, 50 percent relative humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended by the AIC and AAM. Use of fans, de-humidifiers, humidifiers, and air conditioners can help you add or remove moisture and regulate temperature.
If you are considering climate-controlled storage for your books, fine art, antiques, or other collectibles, be sure to ask about environmental and security monitoring. Guardian’s storage maintains strict environmental and security controls with 24/7 monitoring.
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To keep ceramic and glass sculptures safe, display them in dust proof glass cases or acrylic vitrines if possible. Be sure the surface is clean, level and stable. Be aware of vibrations caused by traffic, trains, and building equipment. Over time, constant vibrations can cause movement and damage the object. Some preparators use museum wax to stabilize objects, but only do this after checking with a conservator. The wax may be difficult to remove from certain objects. In extreme cases, such as in earthquake zones, earthquake resistant mounts can be constructed to help safeguard precious objects.
If you do not have enough room for display, and need to keep art objects in storage, be sure to use archival materials. Carefully wrap objects in archival lingnin-free tissue and place in sturdy, acid-free boxes with plenty of archival padding. Never wrap items in newspaper as the inks can cause staining and the paper itself will off-gas.
If you need assistance with custom display mounts (including earthquake resistant mounts) or advice on museum best practices to store your collection, please contact us at email@example.com. We are here to help.
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photo credit: Robb Quinn
Photographic materials are common in personal collections and also highly susceptible to damage in poor storage conditions. Fluctuations in temperature, relative humidity, and light levels can all lead to physical and chemical deterioration of photographs and photographic materials. Similar to paper documents, photographs should be stored in buffered archival folders, separated by like materials in a climate controlled room. Unstable or highly combustible materials, such as silver nitrate negatives, should be stored carefully and in isolation from other collections. It is also important to store prints separate from negatives to protect against the potential of complete loss during a disaster and to protect against chemical deterioration from off-gassing.
If you have questions about the condition of your photographic materials or need a safe place to store them, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help!
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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 email@example.com. We are here to help.
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