Step by Step Process: Adapting an Existing Frame for Archival Re-use
By Virginia Whelan, Textile Conservator in Private Practice. Sole Proprietor of Filaments Conservation Studio, Merion PA.
A frame is both ornamental and functional, drawing the viewer’s attention to the artwork and offering protection from handling and ambient elements. With a few adjustments, most any older wooden frame—whether it is historic, original to the artwork, or otherwise—can be adapted for re-use to become archival as well as ornamental and functional.
In this case study, the client wanted their nearly 200-year-old textile, a copperplate printed on plain weave cloth, to remain with its existing frame and glass even though they were not original to each other. The carved, gilded, wooden profile had a lovely patina from age and use, and the old glass had character.
To adapt the existing frame for archival re-use, the rabbet was made deeper and a piece of Optium Museum Acrylic® was added behind the glass. The Optium Museum Acrylic protects the textile from harmful UV-light and physical damage should the glass break, and its anti-reflective quality makes it invisible in the package. The step by step process is documented below.
1. Conservation of the textile:
2. Retro-fitting the frame:
3. Sequence of assembly:
4. Documentation of work:
Identifying the use of archival materials is important. The handwritten label on the back of the textile’s mount and the Optium Museum Acrylic label adhered to the dust cover inform future owners of when and how the textile was framed, and what materials were used.
The finished product! The textile is now mounted properly, protected from UV-light, and displayed in its existing, and now archival, frame and glass.
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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.