Optium Museum Acrylic® is the glazing of choice for many of our museum and fine art collectors, but it also has its place with a growing number of our retail custom frame shop customers. For a variety of reasons, these framers appreciate the benefits it offers that protect the art and enhance the viewing experience.
“Optium Museum Acrylic is one of my favorite types of glazing,” said Kosal Eang, award-winning owner of Framed by Kosal in Monroe, CT. “You get everything in one package — protection, clarity, resistance to static — so many features.”
While the expense of Optium Museum Acrylic makes it less-utilized than more popular types of glazing like Museum Glass®, there are occasions for which the product benefits make it worth the additional investment. Following are some of the situations in which custom framers would recommend framing with Optium Museum Acrylic.
When a high degree of durability is needed
“In our market, many pieces are frequently handled and moved through delivery,” said Jaclyn Acker, president of Chelsea Frames in New York City. “We have a lot of renters who move homes more often. The spaces in our homes are tight, which means increased risk for pieces to be bumped and knocked.”
In other markets Optium Museum Acrylic is used for protection against weather-related damage. Kirstie Bennett, owner of The Framer’s Workshop in Berkeley, CA, often recommends Optium Museum Acrylic due to the area’s risk for earthquakes. Markets in the hurricane-prone southeast are in a similar situation.
Although acrylic glazing is often used for its shatter-resistance, framers and their customers don’t want to sacrifice clarity. Optium Museum Acrylic features the same anti-reflective surface as Museum Glass. Like all our conservation products, it also offers 99% UV protection to help protect against damage caused by UV exposure.“If clients are going to the trouble of framing something, they want to be able to see it,” said Jaclyn. “They see the value in doing it right the first time around.”
For three-dimensional framing
It’s this level of clarity that makes Optium Museum Acrylic many framers’ preference for shadowboxes. Because shadowboxes do the best job of displaying personal treasures when the viewer can appreciate the depth of the composition and texture of the items, a product like Optium Museum Acrylic helps framers achieve this and keep the piece as lightweight as possible.“We use Optium Museum Acrylic for shadowboxes and have begun working with it on acrylic boxes,” said Jaclyn. “The difference is incredible.”
When creative glazing enhances the piece
“Optium Museum Acrylic gives a framer freedom to work with depth and weight, which opens more possibilities,” said Kosal, who recently created a kinetic piece for Tru Vue booth at this past year’s West Coast Art and Frame Show – Read the full article here. “There are so many things you can do with it. I’ve even drilled holes in it for unique mounting techniques.”Because of its clarity, Chelsea Frames also uses it when working with multiple types of glazing or decorative glass. Its versatility enables framers to offer highly creative designs for their pieces.
For framing large pieces
“Optium Museum Acrylic is easier to work with than standard acrylic, especially when framing larger items,” said Kosal. “Even though it is much lighter, you can treat it just like glass.”Most framers will recommend acrylic for oversized pieces, but there are additional features with Optium Museum Acrylic that enhance its use in these cases. Framers have commented on how its anti-abrasive and anti-static features make it easy to work with in the frame shop and simpler for customers to keep clean at home.
“When framing posters, for example, the static of standard acrylic pulls the paper to the glazing, making it hard to keep it flat,” added Kosal. “If you are using Optium Museum Acrylic, you don’t have that static, so you keep the distance between the art and the glazing, and you have less debris on the glazing.”
When the framer knows best
“We always use Optium for friable materials like charcoals and pastels,” said Bennett, who recently wrote a post for our blog on training staff on when and how to recommend Optium Museum Acrylic – Read the full article here. “It’s part of our conversation about the structure of the piece.”
While paintings are often framed without glazing, for those customers who want the protection of glazing, Kosal insists on using Optium Museum Acrylic because canvas reacts to the static created by standard acrylic.“As framers, we need to dictate to clients when there is inherent risk to their piece by using certain materials,” said Kosal. “There are things I refuse to do.”
Having pieces on display in the shop helps customers understand the difference when deciding on premium glazing. Even so, to help customers make the ultimate right choice, Chelsea Frames allows customers to swap out standard for upgraded glazing for just the cost difference between the two.
“Rarely does it take a lot of persuasion for customers to choose Optium Museum Acrylic over standard,” said Jaclyn. “We just show them the difference. But when a customer make a choice they are less happy with, we make it easy for them to change it.”
Both Jaclyn and Kosal have commented on how impressed customers are when hearing about a product that is used in museums.“I always make customers aware of what we have to offer,” said Kosal. “I find that simply bringing Optium Museum Acrylic into the conversation gives us more credibility with customers.”
For more information on Optium Museum Acrylic, visit our product page.
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.