What is Conservation Framing?
“Conservation framing means that your framer will use only high quality materials designed to protect paper artwork and special techniques above and beyond ordinary framing to help preserve the artwork. In conservation framing, no materials or techniques are used that cannot be reversed, leaving the artwork undamaged and in its original form.”
Copyright Decor Magazine 1997.
This is the most basic definition of conservation framing. Does everything need conservation framing? No. But when your item is of value, whether sentimental or monetary, it does need this extra protection. A term bandied about is “acid free”. Do not be misled by this term. Twenty years ago, “acid free” was one of the better quality mat boards available. Now, with improved technology, almost all mat boards are acid free but they are not all conservation quality. Some terms to look for when choosing conservation mat board: Rag, Alpha Cellulose, museum grade, meets Library of Congress Standards for conservation, archival, 100% cotton.
Protection from light damage can be obtained with ultraviolet filtering glass or more commonly called conservation glass. There are several types of conservation glass other than “regular”, such as reflection control, anti-reflective, museum glass, to name a few. What is best for you should be discussed on an individual basis. But remember – damage by light is irreversible. All light emits ultraviolet rays, not just sunlight, so artwork does not need to be exposed to sunlight for damage to occur.