Slant Board Mounts

The safest way to support fragile textiles is to store them flat. All too often flags and quilts hang in museum exhibition galleries, stressing the fibers unevenly and weakening the artifacts’ structures.

The Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center at the Nebraska State Historical Society has posted helpful directions for making slant board mounts for quilts. These experts recommend using medite/ medex or aluminum honeycomb as the base of the slant board and then covering it with one or more layers of needle-punched polyester batting, followed by a layer of washed, unbleached muslin, and topped with a layer of white cotton velveteen. These materials are all great ideas to think about to begin strategizing exhibit mounts for your large textile artifacts. Here are a few additional ideas, concerns, and material options for slant board mounts.

  • Boards: However, keep in mind that if you use any wood product, such as medite, you will need to seal it appropriately. Aluminum- and coroplast-based mounts will be quicker to produce and safer for long-term preservation, so carefully consider the cost-benefits of the materials you select, depending upon the duration of the exhibit or rotation. For lighter-weight textiles, such as most flags or laces, archival board is probably plenty sturdy to use as a frame base.
  • Angles: The linked directions also recommend 20-60 degree slants. Steeper slants often work best for exhibit designs, especially for large textiles, because the footprint of low-angled mounts can be impractical. Smaller and lighter weight textiles are often well supported at a steep angle. Exhibits at the (now closed) Quilt & Textile Museum in Lancaster, PA, incorporated steeply angled slant board mounts, made from metal boards, into their display cases.
  • Fabrics: Another fabric covering idea that can be a good choice for slant board mounts is polyester fleece. Its fuzzy texture works to grip the textile artifact on top, similar to velveteen. It comes in colors that are fairly safe from bleeding and fading, and fleece is often an inexpensive option. It is also stretchier than velveteen, which makes mount covering much easier. Cotton jersey is another option with this advantage but is less colorfast. Conservators recommend avoiding acrylic-resin-bonded polyester batting. However, it is difficult to find non-bonded or thermal-bonded batting in local fabric stores. Contact Test Fabrics for pricing on these more preservation-appropriate options. A C2C workshop participant crafted the mount on the left with archival board, polyester batting, and white cotton jersey. Even though the kickstand forms a steep angle, the “artifact” has remained on the mount with no pins or stitches.
  • Securing: For quick mount-making, the fabric covering can be taped on the backside of the board. Gaylord’s archival packing tape is a reasonably safe choice.  Sewing a narrow border pocket around the cover fabric, threading twill tape through the pocket, and pulling/ tying it like a drawstring is a good technique to keep the fabric cover tight against the board and securely in place.

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 August 21, 2012, in collections access, collections care, Connecting to Collections, Exhibitions, museums, workshops and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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