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In praise of blackout lining. « The Polar Museum: news blog

The Polar Museum: news blog

In praise of blackout lining.

I recently blogged about our project to improve conditions for our framed artworks.  Around 45 works have been removed from their frames and stored in more suitable dark archival storage boxes, while the frames have been packed away in the attic:


We have devised a system for numbering and labelling the frame packages and recording them in our database, so it is easy to find the right frame for each artwork if they need to be put back together for an exhibition.  The alternative would be rootling through over 100 bags in the attic, which would be a nightmare…

There are still about 30 artworks which need to be protected from light, but which can’t be taken out of their frames.  Maybe the picture is very fragile and it is protected physically by the frame, like this delicate painting of Henry Bowers on textile:


Or perhaps the artwork is mounted in an unusual way and cannot be easily removed from the frame, like this painting of Port Stanley by David Smith:


Sometimes the work is on loan and we don’t have permission to take it out of the frame, and sometimes it is just too big for our archival boxes.  These items all need to stay in the mobile art racking in their frames, but we can still shield them from excess light.  This is where blackout lining comes in!  For each framed picture I am making a small bespoke curtain from blackout lining, and attaching it to the storage racking above with Velcro.  There is a pocket on the front of each curtain for a label and photo of the picture underneath so they can be identified at a glance:

Regular readers might notice that we have used blackout lining before, to shield our Inuit artefacts from excess light on display during certain times of the year.  It is not a glamorous or high tech solution but it works!  And in storage we don’t have the problem of remembering to put the curtains up or take them down every day, as once installed they can just stay put.



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