Using Fosshape for Mountmaking

Fosshape is revolutionary light weight material for mountmakingFosshape, the new specially engineered polyester material looks and feels like felt in it’s raw state, shrinks about 25% and stiffens from applied heat. Because of it’s infinite flexibility, it is ideal for creating low-cost lightweight forms for costume or hat display. Fosshape is durable for indoor or outdoor use and even breathable. It saves valuable time and labor during the construction process, since no messy additives or drying/setup time are required. All synthetic, it is not affected by humid conditions or water, and is mold and mildew resistant. University Products offers Fosshape in 2 different weights/thicknesses. Please see How-To Tips with instructions on using Fosshape and more technical information. Also, watch our new video on creating a dress form out of Fosshape using both a steamer and a heat gun:

Preserving the Old Glory

Archival Quality Flag Box from University ProductsMemorial Day was established for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces and naturally, the American Flag takes center stage in this somber celebration. There are very particular rules and procedures, called collectively The Flag Code for everything from carrying and hanging to folding and disposal of Old Glory (which are actually part of U.S. legal code). Although “flag etiquette” is not particularly enforced, taking good care of your cherished symbol will exponentially increase it’s life span, whether it’s brand new or an old family heirloom!

Conservation – As with any textile, make sure to conduct all necessary cleaning and repair before attempting to store or display the flag. Checking for possible insect infestation/ damage is always a good idea with textiles, especially if previous storage conditions were not ideal. Once it is deemed clean of unwanted visitors, conservators start by carefully removing dust, dirt and other environmental debris, treating stains with appropriate cleaning products and, if required, mending rips and/or signs of wear and tear. Old Flag conservation, repair and mounting at the Museum Textile ServicesWe always recommend contacting a professional conservator if you are dealing with an especially fragile item of high monetary or sentimental value. Our friends at Museum Textile Services specialize in treating all sorts of fabric treasures, including flags. Click on the image to read just one of their flag-restoration stories.

Cleaning – Minimize washing or cleaning of older flags. You should not wash or dry clean them except with the advice of a professional conservator. However, vacuuming gently (on low suction) using a brush attachment covered by a clean piece of cheesecloth is usually a safe and effective cleaning method. New flags, depending on the type of material, can usually be washed by hand using a mild soap.clear view flag storage box

Special Storage – triangular-shaped archival quality boxes are designed specifically for storing properly folded flags. Acid-Free Tissue or Polyester Batting may be used for stuffing and support, if needed. University Products offers 2 kinds of ready-to-assemble flag boxes: the Archival Quality Flag Box in Blue/Gray Corrugated Board and the Clear-View Flag Box in 20pt. inert Polyester.

Day at the Museum

International Museum DayThe annual International Museum Day, established by The International Council of Museums (ICOM) will take place on or around May 18 and will involve more than 30,000 museums in over 100 countries around the world. The theme of this year’s celebration is: Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change and the offerings for museum-goers are designed to entice all senses:

TASTE – At the Archaeological Museum, Arlon, Belgium,
guided tour with a spicy taste are offered, in relation to Gallo-Roman food, followed by a tasting session of food and drinks famous in the Antiquity.

TOUCH – In Lima, Perú, at the Museo de sitio Arturo Jiménez Borja-Puruchuco,
conferences and artistic presentations will take place. Conferences are essentially intended for the craftsmen in general on the ancestral techniques of production of ceramic, textiles and work of metals, in addition to the display of drawings used to explain the working techniques.Le Jardin des Sciences

SMELL – in Strasbourg, France, at Université de Strasbourg’s Jardin des Sciences festivities will include tours of the botanical garden, the Herbarium, and the university gardens, and the planetarium.

SIGHT – In Nigeria‘s National Museum Lagos objects from the reserve will be displayed in the museum courtyard. Lecture on IMD theme will be given on May 21 by a museum professional, followed by a cultural dance by a professional dance troop and a theatrical performance on IMD theme by museum staff.

Money Museum of the Bank of LithuaniaA lot of the Museum Day activities will be FREE of charge. For example, at the Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania, in Vilnius, Lithuania, which offers a memorable interactive journey through the world of money, there will be no entrance fee for a day!

A lot of special exhibitions will be INTERACTIVE – at the Stewart Museum, in Montreal, Canada, animated model of Montreal will be used, with six touch screens representing different areas of the city around 1750, to discover its little-known history and explore the way of life, streets, ancient buildings, and historical figures that shaped the city.

At the Hong Kong Museum of Art it will be very HANDS ON – under the guidance of the conservators, workshop participants will experience the fun and challenges of conservation work through the making of plaster models and subsequent application of gold gilding. In addition, participants can talk to conservators to have a better understanding of conservation work.

It will be DARK in Vagos, Portugal‘s Museu do Brincar (Toy Museum) at the night-time tours at the light of the lantern and QUIET in National Art Museum of Kiev, Ukraine,
at the meeting of people who talk using images instead of words.

It could be FUN, like in Guatemala with exhibitions on the theme of “Parties and Celebration of Guatemala’s Old Days” or SERIOUS, like in Cairo, Egypt Children Museum, where a seminar on Museum Education Development will be organized to train museum professionals and curators on the principles and techniques of museum education.

But no matter where you are… GO TO A MUSEUM on or around May 18th. You will be glad you did!

Night at the Library

It is no wonder that self-proclaimed “international web-action” Biblionight (site in Russian only) was conceived and takes place in the territory of Russia and some Former Soviet Republics. In the land where Libraries are revered almost as (or sometimes even more) than churches, an event where people get a look at the inner-workings of the temples of knowledge sounds very natural and exciting. During the day, libraries and archives are a somber, academic place, “policed” by super strict librarian ladies, one night a year, the motto becomes “Be Loud, you’re in the Library!”.
On the night from April 19 to April 20th, hundreds, if not thousands of institutions throughout the region (from tiny countryside libraries to giant state archives) opened their doors for the enthusiastic public and tried to make it as fun as possible. The main focus of the event is promoting literature and reading, while using various formats to attract as many people as possible and getting them interested in books and libraries.

One of the major organizations that took part in this year’s event (which begun in 2011 but has already gained wide popularity) is the famous Russian State Library in Moscow, known affectionately as “Leninka” (quite naturally, it used to be named after Lenin). The State Library is home to millions of artifacts (books, journals, periodicals) from state and over 200 private collections. It’s vast collections are accessible to the general public (over 18 years of age) during normal business hours, although it might take about 2 hours to receive a requested volume from the storage area. The old building still employs some archaic contraptions for book transportation as well as a pneumatic inter-office messaging system. From a conservation point of view, the system doesn’t seem very sound (even the older, fragile looking books don’t seem to have protective individual enclosures) but there’s a massive dust-removing machine, supposedly the only one of it’s kind in Russia.

As part of Biblionight, Leninka opened its’ back doors to curious book lovers, who got to experience the library from the inside. Late at night, small groups were given the guided tours of the common areas (even the ones that are currently under construction), as well as various book repositories, archival storage room and shelves filled with rare collections. Participants got to leaf through some aging tomes with gorgeous original illustrations, and look at thematic collections of periodicals and other printed materials. The night was truly magical!   All images courtesy of photographer Nina Takovaya

Latest Presidential Library Praised for Conservation Inside and Out

George W. Bush Presidential Center Dallas, TXAlthough President George W. Bush is not famous for his ecological innovations or environmental initiatives, the New Presidential Center carrying his name is to be commended on achieving Platinum certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) program.
Dedicated on April 25 and opening to the public today, on May 1, 2013, the building is located in Dallas, Texas features green roofing systems to reduce heating and cooling demands, solar panels for producing electricity and hot water, with only local building materials sourced, and a rainwater recycling system. Another clever feature is literally hidden in it’s architectural design – a large portion of the building is wedged into a sloping site, which effectively keeps out of sight most of the necessarily windowless space required for archival storage.

The Center houses, among other things, the 13th Presidential Library and Museum administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. As other Presidential Libraries formally started by FDR, it preserves various artifacts related to President Bush’s years in office, as well as a multitude of Presidential Gifts, received by him and the first lady. Some of the gifts can be viewed in all their 360 degrees glory in this online gallery.