Let the Boxing Days Begin

No, we’re not suggesting celebrating the Canadian holiday; neither are we recommending a new fitness regimen. Instead, the preservation specialists at the Duke University Library have established “Boxing Day” as a monthly routine in their office. During the last fiscal year they boxed 8,500 artifacts! Read more about their Boxing Days and boxing projects (part of a collaborative effort with their preservation partners at the Iowa State University Library).

Those of you working in museums may not have the need (or supplies and staff time) to create customized artifact enclosures on that scale. But if you can pool several staff members from you institution or your region to come together and share supplies and techniques, a regularly scheduled Boxing Day may make a lot of sense and be both fun for staff and beneficial for your collection.

Included in the Duke staff’s account of their Boxing Day are links to images and descriptions of three artifacts they boxed. One especially impressive project was a box built to house a gravestone. Staff determined that the heavy stone object needed an extra level of support, which a double-thick board base could supply. They also lined the box with volara pads to cushion the piece and keep it from shifting and cleverly built in slots for hands to reach in and lift the gravestone out, if necessary.

Another possible technique to allow for removal would have been to build a box that opened via flaps on either short end. Both could be opened and hands could push the stone on one end to slide out the other. A mylar window cut into the top of the box would be less cushioning than the current volara-lined lid but would grant easy visual access to the piece.

photo courtesy Corinne Midgett of the High Point Musuem

During C2C’s box-making workshop last month, instructor Anne Lane taught participants how to create side-opening boxes and mylar windows. Participant Kim Mozinga, a Museum Studies graduate student at UNC Greensboro, crafted this enclosure for a special teddy bear. The white Artcare board offers an extra level of pollutant-adsorbing protection. Ethafoam blocks and other padding materials keep the object from shifting inside the enclosure. Poly batting and acid-free tissue cushion the piece and padd out the dress to prevent creasing. The mylar window allows visual access to the object without handling.

Do you have a stock-pile of objects that could benefit from customized housing? In addition to blueboard or Artcare board, do you have cutting mats, snap-blade knives, cork- backed rulers, and some padding materials? Do you know of other museum professionals in your region who could bring their own skills, supplies, and special-needs objects to collaborate and work together? Try to gather the resources necessary and schedule a boxing day soon!


About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on March 30, 2012, in collections access, collections care, Connecting to Collections, storage, workshops and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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