Sshhh, sleeping treasures – creative enclosures

I am occasionally asked to use my skills to protect treasures other than books.  This last week I have completed a job to line a small cabinet ready for a precious shell and mineral collection. Shell, as I have learned and researched some more recently, does not like timber, so the timber of the cabinet cannot touch the shells at all, and air circulation is also a must. So, before jumping in, I did a mock-up using a small set of drawers I have to hold my own glass buttons. Here is how it went:

Archival E-flute, matting, foams and boards, papers and linens – museum-grade materials that I use for book enclosures can also help protect, with some creative crafting, other more tricky shapes.  Here is a Japanese cypress box with drawers – too acidic to be in contact with precious things, so the back has been carefully removed and replaced with stainless steel flatmesh so that there is airflow around the lovelies (forgot to take a pic – oops). Now to line the drawers (not adhered to the drawers at all) and craft structured supports.

The base is acid free and so is the structural tape; that’s okay for substrate but any board or eflute that touch the items needs to be truly achival, long life and pass the Photographic Activity Test.  The boards and papers I use come from Conservation By Design and are for that express purpose.

A quick calculation of the face and elevation measurements that will make a ‘step’ helpful to support the objects and also display them well, then a LOT of folding and adhering the supports to the substrate, so that the enclosure works but is totally removable from the housing – per the conservation tenets – ‘Do no harm‘ , and ‘Make all interventions reversible‘.

Note the spacer between the elevation and the face, to adhere the step well to the substrate, and ease the display space for chunkier objects.

Ta-daa. One drawer done. Now to the rest.

I really like this little box. The drawers are slightly different depths so as to leave some air space at the back. That was very handy.   The shell and mineral box is much larger but the job will go more quickly now that my brain has sorted out the plan of attack 🙂

My button collection is the beneficiary of this trial-run, and it has worked well. I’ll likely line the others when I get a break in my workload. Well, back to books. There are lots of jobs waiting for my attention.

~ Love your books, folks.   x

3 thoughts on “Sshhh, sleeping treasures – creative enclosures

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