August 7, 2020
The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the Image Permanence Institute $429,409 in funding to support a three-year research project designed to identify the most cost-efficient and environmentally responsible methods of preparing paper-based collection objects for transit and display while maintaining preservation standards.
In many museums, paper-based collection objects are given multiple “layers” of protection when preparing them for traveling exhibitions and loans (Figure 1). This is done in order to safeguard collections from damage while in transit. A typical approach includes the following process: 1. Each object is placed in a sealed frame package which is then inserted into a frame (1a illustrates the cross section of materials used to create a sealed frame package); 2. The frame package is then wrapped in a plastic bag (the bag in the image above is taped closed with brown packaging tape); and then 3. Packages are placed into closely packed trays organized vertically or horizontally with multiple objects in a single shipping crate, leaving limited air space. There has never been a comprehensive study on the environmental conditions experienced by paper-based objects during transit prepared in this manner.
Led by IPI Research Scientist Al Carver-Kubik, this project will include both field and laboratory research, and will be the first research project to collect environmental data from multiple museums’ shipping crates simultaneously. Data will be collected from a variety of shipping crate and packing configurations traveling through a range of regional climates. Laboratory experimentation will include testing the safety and relative humidity buffering capacity of crate packing materials and methods, as well as different microenvironment sealed frame package designs used to protect objects during transit and display.
Results will be used to determine which methods are most effective and cost-efficient while producing the least amount of disposable waste. The combined field and laboratory research components will provide IPI with the information necessary to create data-driven guidelines for museums to make research-based, informed, sustainable, and cost-efficient decisions for maintaining preservation standards when traveling and displaying framed paper-based collection objects.
In 2004, IPI released ClimateNotebook, the first desktop software designed specifically for libraries, archives, and museums to graph environmental data and generate reports with preservation analysis. In 2012, eClimateNotebook (eCNB) was launched. A web application that synthesized the strengths of ClimateNotebook, and IPI’s other preservation management tools (MyClimateData and PEMdata) into a single, unified platform.
The Image Permanence Institute has been awarded $315,854 from the National Endowment for the Humanities Research & Development grant program to support a three-year research project titled, Evaluating the Mechanical Stability of 3D Printed Materials to Inform Collections Care Decision Making for Preservation and Access.
IPI is looking for a new team member in a redefined Sustainable Preservation Specialist role. The Sustainable Preservation Specialist supports professionals working in collecting institutions with environmental monitoring and sustainable preservation practices. They assist collecting institutions with basic environmental monitoring and data analysis, advise on logger placement in collection storage and exhibition spaces, and provide instruction on the use of IPI’s data management and analysis software, eClimateNotebook.
Xinxin Li is IPI’s new 3D Design Assistant working under the supervision of Meredith Noyes, Research Scientist, as part of the IMLS-funded project Foundational Research to Inform Preservation Guidelines for the Creation, Collection, and Consumption of 3D Printed Objects in Museums. Xinxin is a MFA candidate in Industrial Design at RIT and comes to IPI after receiving her BFA in Industrial Design from Savannah College of Art and Design.