Custom Conservation Framing for Antique Maps
We do not offer framing services. This page is informational only.
Only Custom Conservation Framing can offer your new artwork the protection it deserves. Conservation framing essentially seals your art in an airtight safe that not only enhances its beauty, but preserves it against many environmental dangers for generations to come. Even artwork that has been carefully conserved can be damaged and destroyed by improper framing. Conventional framing may in fact do more damage to your artwork than it does good. Until recently, true Conservation Framing has been reserved for world class collections and museums. However, recent advances and a greater demand for conservation framing have made it available to all on a commercial level.
At this point, you are probably wondering what exactly conservation is, if you need it, and why. Framed artwork faces several major challenges:
Humidity Acid Transference High Temperature UV Sunlight Improper Framing
the problem: High humidity such as is often found in basements and in areas with tropical and subtropical climates can have a devastating effect on paper art. The great nemesis of all paper, mold and other fungi, thrive in such warm moist environments. Their growth will not only age and discolor your paper art work, it will also cause the pages to brittle, tear and on occasion will even eat through the paper entirely. In many old books and manuscripts the effects of mold are plainly visible in the form of a ghostly image on the facing material or on the adjacent page. Mold is also perceived as Foxing, that is, small reddish brown spots that appear on the paper's surface.Acid Transference
how to solve it: Proper framing can be a key factor in preventing the devastating effects of humidity, moisture, and mold on paper art. First, the framer must take care to space the art away from the body of the frame itself using either matting or special conservation framing spacers. This critical air space both allows the piece to breath and prevents condensation on the interior of the frame from coming into contact with the art piece itself. In addition, proper conservation framing is nearly air-tight. Our heavy duty backing material is both puncture and tear resistant so that moisture and other environmental elements can't get near your artwork.
what you can do: Unfortunately no conservation frame can be fully effective if proper care is not taken on the part of its owner. Avoid storing your artwork in an extremely hot or humid environment, like a basements and attics. A good general rule is, if you are comfortable, so too is your art work. Also, take care to avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity. Doing so may cause condensation on the interior of the frame regardless of how carefully it has been built. If, such condensation does occur, simply dismantle the frame's backing and allow both the art piece and the frame's interior to dry. Once dried, take your frame to a conservation framer to have it rebacked. If you notice that mildew or mold has begun to grow on your artwork you might want to consider taking your piece to a conservator or taking advantage of our Antique Map Restoration and Conservation Services.
the problem: Most commercial framers use highly acidic cardboard backing and matting materials to frame any artwork. The acid content in most cardboard matte boards is so high that, even if your artwork itself is acid free, acid transference may take place. Acid transference occurs when acid actually bleeds from touching or adjacent materials in to your artwork. Acids essentially burn into and through your artwork, causing severe browning and making the paper so brittle that it will often crumble at the touch.High Temperature
how to solve it: We use only the highest conservation quality matting and backing materials that have been approved by the Library of Congress. Many framing companies will tell you that their matte board is acid free, but in fact only special 100% rag or lignin free wood pulp matting and backing materials can guarantee that you print will not be exposed to dangerous acids. In addition, all of our matting and backing materials are alkaline pH buffered to counteract the natural acidity found in the air.
what you can do: The most important thing you can do before framing your artwork is to be certain that it has been deacidified. Even the best Conservation Framing work cannot stop acid that is already in the paper. For more information, check out our Antique Maps Restoration and Conservation Services page. All maps and prints sold by Geographicus have been deacidified and conserved using the procedures outlined there.
the problem: High temperatures, such as are commonly found in attics, non-climate controlled storage facilities and warm tropical & semi-tropical regions can speed up the rate of acid degradation considerably. Studies show that every 10º Celsius increase in temperature can as much as double the acidic degradation of your artwork.UV Sunlight
how to solve it: No framer can control where an artwork is stored, however, he can take certain steps to give your artwork maximum protection in the exigency that it is exposed to radical temperature variation or particularly high temperatures. Using matting or special frame spacers, Conservation Framers create a critical air space that both allows the piece to breath and prevents condensation on the interior of the frame from coming into contact with the art piece itself. Our mounting techniques are also such that your artwork can easily expand and contract with changing temperatures. In addition, proper conservation framing is nearly air-tight. Our heavy duty backing material it both puncture and tear resistant so that moisture and other environmental elements can't get near your artwork.
what you can do: Unfortunately no conservation frame can be fully effective if proper care is not taken on the part of its owner. Avoid storing your artwork in an extremely hot or humid environment, like a basements and attics. A good general rule is, if you are comfortable, so too is your artwork. Also, take care to avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity.
the problem: Dangerous ultraviolet radiation from direct sunlight or from florescent lighting can cause subtle yet severe and irreparable damage to your paper artwork. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays can fade colors causing your artwork to take on a bleached and washed out appearance. Further, high energy photons cause a chemical reaction to occur within most paper, making it brittle and causing irreparable browning.Improper Framing
how to solve it: Conservation Framing protects your artwork by replacing the typical glass that most framers use with special conservation glass which is at once break resistant and glazed to filter up to 97% of harmful ultraviolet radiation. The typical window glass used by non-conservation framers filters only about 45% of the ultraviolet spectrum.
what you can do: Store your artwork away from direct sunlight or florescent lighting.
the problem: Improper framing can either cause or exacerbate all of the problems listed above. Most non-conservation framers use cheap cardboard matting and framing materials whose high acidic content will quickly devour any piece they touch. The pressure sensitive adhesives generally used by framers are also highly acidic and irreversible. They can stain and in time destroy almost any piece. Finally, non-glazed glass can allow excessive ultraviolet radiation to damage and fade your artwork. Framing hardware is also an issue. Many framers fail to provide adequate framing hardware in relative consideration to the size and weight of the framed piece.
how to solve it: Our conservation framing experts take all of the steps indicated above and many more to be certain your piece will be with and your loved ones for generations. While in many instances adhesives are unavoidable, we use only reversible, acid free, conservation safe adhesives such as Filmoplast. In addition we provide the correct framing hardware and careful mounting and storage instructions with every framed piece.
what you can do: When framing take your piece to a framing service that advertises itself as a conservation specialist. Geographicus can recommend framers in some areas. When hanging your piece, take the time to follow the installation instructions carefully. If you piece is heavy, be certain that it is mounted on a wall stud.