Display Mount Tip

Thanks to two of North Carolina’s premier collections care specialists for this tip: Anne Lane, Collections Curator at Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum; and Kyle Bryner, Collections Manager at Wake Forest University Museum of Anthropology.

WCU Fine Arts Museum's glass exhibit, 2012

WCU Fine Art Museum’s NC Glass 2012 exhibit

A company called Quakehold! makes “museum wax” which many exhibit professionals use to secure artifacts to mounts. The wax helps keep an object in place, allowing an added measure of protection in addition to its pedestal or shelf placement. Floss or thread can cut through the wax gently to release the object.  Microcrystalline wax is a product that we recommend as safe for preservation purposes. But beware! Although the company advertises other products as safe for museum use, experience proves otherwise.

Lane warns against using the museum gel, as it is not the same formulation as museum wax. “It’s a clear gel, very odd stuff, but not a wax. You form it in your fingers and put it under the piece, and it sort of crawls around and eventually firms up, but not hard like wax. You break the bond by twisting the piece loose. It claims not to leave any residue, but that claim is false. It stains our latex-painted pedestals something fierce. We’ll see how it is on the glass when we take the show down.”

3MbumponsBryner prefers another product to the Quakehold! offerings. She has purchased 3M bumpons at Staples or Office Depot, and they are also available online. She reports that they adhere easily to a base or pedestal and readily pop off when the time comes to disengage the artifact from the mount. The MOA uses them on artifact display mounts to stop objects from sliding, especially when mounted at an angle. The bumpons are also useful around the base of hollow containers, like pots or baskets, to keep them from moving gradually as the result of vibrations.

How preservation-appropriate are these bumpons? The manufacturer’s materials safety data sheet (MSDS) indicates they are fairly safe. The bumpons are made from a polyurethane encased in polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is a stable polyester material. Although polyurethane is not a stable material, the PET forms an effective barrier, and 3M reports that the product does not emit any VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). The adhesive is an acid-free acrylic.

Do you have any tricks of the trade or supply tips to share with our cultural heritage collections community?


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 February 25, 2013, in Exhibitions, guest bloggers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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