Tips for Bringing Delicate Items to the Preservation Fair
Preventing damage to artifacts is more cost-effective than allowing damage to happen, then treating it!
Preventive conservation is about storing, displaying, handling and maintaining objects in ways that promotes long- term stability and does not lead to deterioration. In a museum setting, preventive conservation includes monitoring temperature, humidity and light in galleries and storage areas, developing methods for secure display, and ensuring the safety of works of art during transport. What follows are some suggestions for transporting your artifacts.
Packing materials to use
Cardboard can be trimmed slightly larger than a flat work on paper or a small, framed item and wrapped with kraft paper. Avoid using rubber bands and if you must use tape, only use small pieces of drafting or blue painters’ tape to close the cardboard. Do not tape your artifact or frame! Stabilize small flat materials first by sandwiching them between thin sturdy boards or magazine pages before placing inside a larger envelope. Place small shards of paper in a small envelope.
Use bubble wrap (bubbles facing out) - avoid using with fragile items- as well as batting and quilting material, and foam rubber.
Use bed sheeting, t-shirts, wrapping tissue, Kleenex, cotton dishtowels, and plastic sheeting. Avoid wrapping items directly with newspaper as the printing ink may transfer. If you have small bits of ceramic or glass, place each piece in a tissue and place the tissue-wrapped pieces in an envelope or a Ziploc-type bag.
Move your framed object by its sides rather than from the top or by a picture wire. To transport, clear out the trunk of your car and place the frame face-up on a couple layers of blanket. Make rolls of blankets or towels that serve as secure bolsters to prevent your framed item from shifting and to reduce shock and vibration.
Sturdy boxes are free, widely available and recommended for protecting objects. A box is a better carrier than a tote bag to protect against crushing or vibration. Create a nest of packing materials inside a sturdy cardboard container and place the artifact inside. Consider creating inner and outer boxes with cushioning in between to provide extra protection. Make a tray out of a shallow box top for transporting smaller items.
Inside your car
Careful placement within your vehicle will help to add another layer of protection. Placing a box with wrapped items on the floor behind the passenger seat and using blankets or towels to secure the box provides better stability than putting an item loosely in your trunk where it may slide around or tip over. If you are traveling by yourself, consider carefully positioning the passenger seat to lock in the object to prevent movement. Having your seatmate hold a boxed item is also recommended.
Note: These recommendations are for transporting only, not long-term storage.
Do not bring: Extremely fragile, moldy, or broken objects with sharp shards.