Custom Mount Making for Books

There are so many ways to display books, and by using Vivak® Polyester Sheets, you can create a unique design that safely shows off your book’s best features.

In our How-To: Mount Making using Vivak Polyester Sheets tutorial we have instructions to create a basic mount out of Vivak. For cutting any mount out of this material it is best to use the Swivel Blade Acrylic Cutters or Heavy Duty Blade.

The great thing about Vivak is that it becomes soft and pliable when heated, making it easy to form into almost any shape. Once it cools it retains in the shape it has been given and offers superior impact strength. To create creases, you can save time, effort, and obtain better results by using an Acrylic Sheeting Bending Strip. This will heat only the narrow area that is being formed. For a wider, more gradual bend, it is best to use a Heat Gun.

Besides the style of book mount shown in our How-To, there are many ways to create one specifically for your needs. You can experiment with combining boards and Vivak, and using display accessories like Clear Polyester Strips. Here we have examples of other styles thanks to Tim Corlis at Rutgers University, Special Collections & University Archives.

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.

Hats Off to Dr. Seuss

If you are familiar with creative work by the beloved children’s book author and illustrator, Dr. Seuss, you might have noticed that hats play a very important role in his art. Cat in the Hat? The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins? Even the big fat fish from “One Fish, Two Fish” has a tiny yellow hat perched (no pun intended) on it’s head! You can find a creature sporting some sort of headgear on practically every page of his prolific collection of books! But what you may not know, is that Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) himself was an avid collector and wearer of hats! Hundreds of them, according to his sister, Marnie, who wrote about it in Springfield Union News in 1937: “Ted has another peculiar hobby—that of collecting hats of every description…”
Now, twenty-six original hats from Dr. Seuss’ fascinating personal collection, as well as photographs and art reproductions showing the intricate links between the real hats and the imaginary ones, are part of the National Touring Exhibition, appropriately called “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!” Current stop for this marvelous show is Wilmington, NC, and you can see the full schedule here.

Obviously, we are also interested in hats from a conservation point of view. Being rather fragile, 3-dimentional and often oddly-shaped objects, they are not very easy to preserve. University Products has many options for both storage and display that are used by museum professionals and conservators all around the world. Whether you’re trying to preserve a Fur Hat worn by the Czar of Russia or your grandmother’s little pill box number worn on the day she eloped with your grandfather, similar guidelines should apply.

First of all, conduct all necessary cleaning and repair before attempting to store or display the hat. Professional conservators start by carefully removing dust, dirt and other environmental debris and, if required, mending rips and/or signs of wear and tear. After the initial prep, the hats need support from the inside, so they will not loose their original shape. This can be achieved with a custom-made support (for example, carved out of Ethafoam), by using a Head Mount, or simply by stuffing the hat with Acid-free Tissue. For long term storage, protection from sunlight and dust is essential. Archival Quality Hat Boxes are a perfect solution for these tasks. For display, specially designed Hat Stands or Head Mounts with Lifelike Features would be ideal.

Please remember to always consult a professional conservator (unless you are one :)) before attempting any kind of treatment on objects of monetary or sentimental value.

Eric Carle Picture Book Museum Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Eric Carle MuseumOn November 10, 2012, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, will start celebrating its 10th anniversary.  It will mark the occasion with  special events, exhibitions, and family activities. Book festivals, special guest speakers from around the world, and educational workshops are also planned as part of the year long celebration.

The museum, which opened in November 22, 2002, has become quite an attraction for tourists as well as local book lovers, and of course, kids of all ages. Founded by Barbara and Eric Carle, the museum is dedicated to showcasing some of the most outstanding examples of children’s book art. It features many pieces of original artwork and sketches for some of the most well known picture books, beautifully preserved and elegantly displayed in the airy, contemporary halls of the museum. The museum also offers opportunities to create your own future masterpieces, watch a theater production or meet a famous author.

University Products congratulates the wonderful Eric Carle Museum, it’s founders and staff with the anniversary! Our own love for books is obvious in the variety of book-related products we offer. From repair tapes to bookbinding tools, from protective enclosures to exhibition displays, we’ve got it all! Check out Book Arts & Maintenance and Book Displays and Racks sections of our online catalog, and don’t forget these ultimate Book Lover’s gifts – elegantly appointed  Book Repair Kit and Rare Book Display Pillows, which were recently featured in Fine Books and Collections Magazine.

A University Products How-To Tip: Display and Storage of Books

Books present a variety of unique conservation concerns.  Numerous construction materials may include paper, leather, fabric, silk, thread, and adhesives, each of which have specific requirements in the area of conservation.  Unlike a photograph or simple sheet of paper, a book has moving parts (pages) and must be handled and manipulated to perform the function it was designed for.

Protection from temperature and humidity fluctuation, ultraviolet light, and damaging display or storage materials is necessary for the long-term survival of books.  Beyond that, books take on a whole new set of rules.

Open Books
Opening a book completely (180 degrees) can flatten the spine and cause considerable damage.  Collectors often wish to display the book opened. To do so safely, the book should not be opened more than 90 degrees, and both front and back covers should receive full support.This can be accomplished using commercially available book cradles, support wedges and book mounts. They should be manufactured of inert materials (usually Plexiglas) and provide smooth, strong support.

A sheet of polyester (Melinex) cut to the proper size is ideal for holding down “springy” pages of an open book on display.  Because it is crystal clear, the page can be viewed without obstruction.  In addition, it will protect the exposed page(s) from dirt, dust and fingerprints.  The polyester page protector should be fastened to the support, never to the book itself.

Closed Books Storage
Closed books are a little simpler to store.  Adequate circulation should be maintained within the storage area.  Books stored on shelves or in a book case should not be pushed against the back wall, but kept an inch or two away to allow circulation of air.  This is especially important if it is an exterior wall since changes in temperature and humidity are more likely to occur. They should be stored upright on the shelf rather than laid flat, but should not be allowed to lean since the strain could damage the spine.  Books with leather bindings should be stored away from those with cloth or paper bindings to prevent migration of naturally occurring acids and oils in leather from damaging paper or cloth bindings.  Like-size books should be stored together to provide proper support, but should not be so tight as to cause damage when removed or replaced.
The downside to storing your book collection closed and on shelves is that viewing the book requires handling the book.  Careless handling of books can cause irreparable damage, and a few common sense handling procedures can preserve a book in its pristine condition.  Instead of pulling a book out by the top of the spine, push in the books on either side and remove by gently grasping both sides (another good reason to leave a few inches of space behind the books).  Modern day books with dust jackets should be covered with a polyester book jacket cover. Book jacket covers are fairly inexpensive and provide increased protection from general wear and tear. They also prevent chemicals from body oils in the hands and fingers from damaging the book.  Use only polyester or other inert materials to cover books since some plastics or acidic papers can cause more harm than good.  Most libraries use polyester dust jacket covers.

Older/Damaged Books
Older books that are already exhibiting signs of weakness or damage must be treated differently.  These should be stored flat rather than upright to provide needed support, and never more than two or three books high.  Ideally, each damaged book should be stored individually in a box custom made to the book’s dimensions.  These boxes should be manufactured from archival quality materials only.

Some damaged books can and should be repaired. Repair work should only be attempted by a qualified  book conservator trained in using proper materials and techniques.  A book conservator can deacidify any books manufactured with acidic paper, repair tears in pages, tighten loose hinges, and create proper storage boxes, among other procedures.  Properly cared for, your book collection will last indefinitely.

 

National Archives Unveil Newly Encased Magna Carta

A newly-restored 1297 Magna Carta, complete with a brand-new encasement, is the prominent piece in a new exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The Magna Carta, originally issued in 1215, was the first document forced onto an English king in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect the privileges of the feudal barons. The charter was an important part of the historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world. This copy, owned by managing director of the Carlyle Group, David M. Rubenstein, was donated to the National Archives. The document underwent a 10-month conservation treatment before its unveiling on February 17.

Page one of the Magna Carta Manuscript.

The treatment process began with the National Archives’ team of conservators performing an intensive examination to identify the repairs that needed to be done to the 715-year-old document. Then the conservators applied moisture to aid in the removal of old fills, adhesive residues, and old repairs. Losses in the parchment were repaired using Japanese papers that were toned to match the hue of the document. The long fibers of these papers were applied to the fills by using a mixture of gelatin and wheat starch paste. National Archives conservator Terry Boone was able to accurately match these colors by using watercolor paints. Finally, the document was humidified, flattened, and dried over the course of several months.

In its new encasement, the Magna Carta rests on a sheet of unbleached, all-cotton paper that was custom-made by the University of Iowa’s Center for the Book. This sheet acts as an acid-free buffer between the document and a perforated metal platform as it rests in the new case constructed by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST). The paper also brightens the appearance of the translucent document and helps to keep the relative humidity inside of the encasement at a stable level. NIST scientists devised a system to measure oxygen and moisture content within the encasement which includes filling it with humidified inert argon gas. Also, the interior of the display is filled with an atmosphere of 99% high-purity argon, 1% helium and an initial oxygen content of 1 part per million.

University Products offers a variety of materials, tools, and equipment for document conservation including: 100% cotton rag papers, pre-shred cotton linters, Ex-Libris economical portable vacuum table, micro-spatulas, and white cotton gloves.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs on display at Currier Museum of Art

Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography at Currier Art MuseumAre you ready to see some photos that…rock?

If you fancy yourself a rock and roll aficionado and are making your way to Manchester, N.H., don’t miss Backstage Pass, an exhibit that started earlier this year at Manchester, N.H.’s Currier Museum, showcasing some of the most iconic photographs in rock and roll history.

The artists captured in these famous photographs include Rock and Roll luminaries Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and The Sex Pistols. Legendary rock photographer, Bob Gruen, snapped a portion of these famous photos in the exhibit.

Arguably, Gruen’s most iconic photograph is one of John Lennon in a sleeveless New York City T-shirt standing arms folded with the Manhattan skyline as his backdrop. The photo, taken while the ex-Beatle was recording “Walls and Bridges” in the summer of 1974, became a famous one some six years later in the wake of Lennon’s death according to Gruen in a New York Times piece that appeared earlier this year.Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography at Currier Museum of Art

Gruen had selected the photo amongst his Lennon collection to be displayed at Central Park’s band shell for the public memorial for Lennon in 1980. Gruen’s work is just a small sampling of the photographs on display at the Currier from more than 50 photographers.

Are you looking to archive (or even exhibit) your own photo collection? University Products has the professional archival products you need to preserve, protect and present your photographs. From framing essentials to photo storage supplies, our products can turn your photos “up to 11!”

Conservation Video from Harvard & New Exhibition at Springfield Museums

Conservation Focus: Anatomical Flap Prints from Harvard Art Museums on Vimeo.

Conservator Theresa Smith talks about repairing Heinrich Vogtherr’s multilayered anatomical “flap” prints. The anatomical flap prints are on view as part of the exhibition “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe” at the Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum from September 6 through December 10, 2011.

More information on the exhibition and related programming at harvardartmuseums.org

old masters to monet springfield muesum exhibitIn the meantime, right here in Springfield, MA, a new exciting exhibition is about to begin at the Springfield Museums. On loan from Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum, the Old Masters to Monet collection will open its doors to the public on December 13 and will run until April 29, 2012.

And for all of your conservation framing needs, refer to the Archival Quality Materials Gallery Edition Catalog or visit the Framing section at universityproducts.com