My mother never displayed her Traphagen School of Fashion diploma. It was never matted nor framed. At some point, it slipped into a box for storage.
Long-term storage has been kind to this diploma. It’s in good shape. Probably if it had been matted and framed 61 years ago, it would be in poorer shape today – it would show more of the damaging effects of humidity, temperature, and light.
Fortunately, preservation strategies have advanced considerably over the past half-century. With proper matting and framing, a diploma like this can be safely displayed without significant preservation concerns.
Jessica Makin, Manager of Housing and Framing at the
for Art and Historic Artifacts, recommends a thoughtful investment in matting and framing when approaching an aging document like this diploma. For preservation reasons, she cautions against purchasing a cheap off-the-shelf commercial frame for a job like this. Treat yourself (and your current family and future descendents) to a quality presentation that simultaneously preserves and protects the document. Conservation Center
For this particular diploma, Jessie suggests –
For the mat: An 8 ply thick mat made of 100% ragboard that contains zeolites (molecular pollutant traps).
For the glazing: An acrylic UV glazing that will protect from 98% of all harmful ultraviolet rays.
For the frame: A frame that is sufficiently deep to adequately protect and support the object. Jessie cautions that many off-the-shelf frames are too shallow,
potentially capable of causing long-term damage.
Since quality framing is an expense, my wife and I usually put off matting and framing to a special occasion – and then give the framed item as a gift. Most recently, I had a set of silverware framed in a shadow box for my wife’s birthday, preserving and celebrating a gift that she had received while a young girl.
© 2011 Lee Price