Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Framing the Diploma

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 Conservation Center 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.

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

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