Suppliers and guide to selecting preservation materials

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This guide aims to provide information to help you select appropriate, safe enclosure materials to store and preserve your personal collections. A list of suggested suppliers of preservation materials is also provided.

Some things to consider

A good approach to housing your collections is to provide several layers of protection by first placing individual objects into sleeves or envelopes, then into suitable boxes or folders.

Always be cautious when purchasing storage material. Many commercially available enclosures are labelled 'archival' or 'acid-free'. However, some of these items may contain lignin, dyes, sizing agents, coatings, plasticisers, or other harmful additives. Always ask for product specifications and if in doubt consult a conservator.

Never use enclosures made from unprocessed wood pulp paper, glassine, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Never laminate objects that are precious to you as the process is irreversible and deteriorates with age. The process itself is also harmful to the object as it contains heat, adhesives and pressure.

Paper or Plastic archival enclosures?

  • There are two main materials used for archival enclosures: paper and plastic.
  • The choice between paper and plastic enclosures should be based on the type of object being housed and its condition, the anticipated amount of use, financial resources, and environmental storage conditions.
  • Items that are used frequently can be abraded by repeated removal from and insertion into paper enclosures, thus plastic may be more suitable as the object can be viewed in-situ. In areas of high humidity, paper enclosures should be used as they allow greater airflow, thus preventing the creation of microclimates within storage enclosures.
  • Material that may potentially off-gas harmful acidic by-products (e.g. cellulose acetate and nitrate film) should also be housed in paper enclosures, as it allows air exchange thus minimising detrimental build up of acids.
  • Use the table entitled Selecting safe enclosure materials to help make the right selection.
  • Always make sure the method of storage selected is reversible so that you can safely remove your collections without damaging them if you notice any problems.

For more information

Please visit the National Archives of Australia’s website - http://www.naa.gov.au/information-management/managing-information-and-records/preserving/pat.aspx

Suppliers of preservation materials

Note: State Library of Queensland does not endorse the suppliers listed

Library Shop
(Storage products. Authorised stockist of Albox products)
Phone and mail orders accepted
Level 1, State Library of Queensland
Cultural Centre, Stanley Place
South Bank  QLD  4101
p: (07) 3840 7576
e: thelibraryshop@slq.qld.gov.au
w: http://www.shop.slq.qld.gov.au/

Airepure Australia Pty Ltd
(Pollution monitoring equipment)
PO Box 78, Geebung PO QLD 4034
p: (07) 3807 2999
f: (07) 3807 2799
e: b.kelly@airepure.com.au
w: http://www.airepure.com.au/

Albox Australia
(Polypropylene albums and storage boxes)
75 Manton St, Hindmarsh  SA  5007
p: 1300 799 209
f: (08) 8241 7866
e: albox@albox.com.au
w: http://www.albox.com.au

Archival Survival
(Storage enclosures and conservation supplies)
PO Box 1139, Doncaster East  VIC  3109
p: 1300 781 199
f: 1300 781 146
e: info@archivalsurvival.com.au
w:http://www.archivalsurvival.com.au

Conservation Resources (is the supply business of Preservation Australia)
(Storage enclosures including polyester sleeves and sheeting, and conservation supplies)
PO Box 210, Enmore NSW 2042
p: 1300 651 408
f: 1300 651 406
e: sales@conservationresources.com.au
w: http://www.conservationresources.com.au

Doboy Cold Stores Pty Ltd
(Commercial freezing facility)
1217 Lytton Rd, Hemmant QLD 4174
p: (07) 3390 6555
f: (07) 3390 4988
e: admin@doboycoldstores.com.au
w: http://www.doboycoldstores.com.au

Entosol (Australia) Pty Ltd
(Blunder traps for insect monitoring)
P.O Box 28, Roselands NSW 2196
p: (02) 9758 4552
f: (02) 9758 4882
e: sales@entosol.com.au
w: http://www.entosol.com.au

Image Permanence Institute
(A-D strips – Test strips used to measures free acidity produced by degrading cellulose acetate film)
Rochester Institute of Technology/ IPI
70 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester NY 14623-5604  USA
f:  (585) 475 7230
e: ipiwww@rit.edu
w:https://www.imagepermanenceinstitute.org

Megawood Larson – Juhl
(Mount board and framing supplies)
Central 2B/605 Zillmere Rd, Zillmere  QLD  4034
p: (07) 3863 8400
f: (07) 3263 1093
e: sales@mwlj.com.au
w:http://www.megawood.com.au

Munters Pty Ltd
(Dehumidifier rental and purchase)
27/115 Robinson Rd East, Geebung QLD 4034
p. (07) 3265 8811 or 1800 008 379
f: (07) 3265 8800
e: dh.info@munters.com.au
w: http://www.munters.com.au

Preservation Australia (please see Conservation Resources)

Sealed Air
(Ageless sachets and Cryovac plastic – used for low oxygen treatment)
Unit 3, 5 Henry St, Loganholme  QLD  4129
p: (07) 3451 1444
w: http://www.sealedair.com/ap/en/default.aspx

Studio 105 (Michael Marendy)
(Authorised Queensland distributor of Albox storage products)
PO Box 444, Toowong QLD 4066
p: (07) 3870 2675
f: (07) 3871 2457
e: marendym@flatrate.net.au

Tuscan Corporation
(Polypropylene 16mm film cans and cores, polystyrene 8mm cans and reels)
5301 S. Superstition Mountain Drive
Suite 104-113
Gold Canyon  AZ  85118
e: info@tuscancorp.com
w: http://tuscancorp.com/index.html

Zetta Florence Fine Paper Pty Ltd
(Storage enclosures and conservation supplies)
197B Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
p: (03) 9417 3365 or 1300 784 684
e: info@zettaflorence.com.au
w: http://www.zettaflorence.com.au

Selecting safe enclosure materials

Level (of suitability):
1 – Conservation standard
2 – Use but monitor regularly

Enclosure materialUsesSuitable heritage objectsAvailabilityLevelPotential issues
 Plastics  

PETE: Polyethylene Terephthalate (uncoated)


Common name: Polyester

Tradenames:

  • Mylar ™ (polyester film)
  • Parsilk (100% polyester lining fabric)
  • Dacron (polyester fibre)
  • Mylar:  photograph sleeves and corners, encapsulations, lining of shelving, cabinets etc.
  • Parsilk - covering for book pillows and ethafoam inserts and display supports.
  • Dacron – to provide extra cushioning. Always cover with Parsilk or calico to prevent objects catching.
  • Works on paper
  • Photographic prints
  • Thin bound
    volumes (e.g.    pamphlets)
  • The Library Shop (State Library of Queensland)
  • Preservation suppliers
  • Polyester and Dacron – fabric and craft stores
  • Polyester photo corners: photography and craft stores. Some newsagents.
1
  • Not suitable for use in areas of high humidity, particularly where fungal activity is a problem. If used in these conditions, check regularly, particularly after a long period of wet or humid weather.
  • High level of static. Never use for materials with flaking, friable surfaces (e.g. charcoal, pastels, crayons, or damaged photographic emulsions)
  • Avoid plastic that has anti-static or anti-glare agents.

PP: Polypropylene (uncoated)

Tradenames:

  • Promeg™ (plastic used for boxing, sleeves and albums)
  • Corflute (rigid corrugated plastic sheets)
  • Sleeves
  • Albums
  • Boxing
  • Film cans and cores
  • Photo mounting corners
  • Backing board for framing (Corflute) (N.B. can attract dust)
  • Bound volumes
  • Works on paper
  • Photographic prints
  • Motion picture film
  • The Library Shop (State Library of Queensland)
  • Preservation suppliers
  • Albox™ albums & boxes
  • Many readily available clear plastic storage containers (avoid coloured lids as they are made from polystyrene)
  • Corflute can be bought at sign writing suppliers as well as preservation suppliers.
1
  • As above
 Objects 

HDPE: High Density Polyethylene

Tradenames:

  • Ethafoam (dense polyethylene cell foam)
  • DuPont™ Tyvek®
  • Sleeves
  • Ethafoam - padding out boxes
  • Works on paper
  • Photographic prints
  • 3 dimensional objects (Ethafoam)
  • Readily available
2
  • As above
  • Check regularly and remove if plastic begins to discolour
  • Sometimes good idea to cover ethafoam with Parsilk to ensure smooth edges. Can also pad out with Dacron to provide cushioning.
 Paper and Board 

Buffered archival paper 100% cotton fibre (cellulose), lignin-free (alkaline buffered)
Product:

  • Wrapping
  • Folders
  • Backing paper for sleeves
  • Photocopying
  • Works on paper
  • The Library Shop (State Library of Queensland)
  • Preservation suppliers
  • Good art suppliers & some picture framers
1
  • Avoid coloured paper.
  • Buffered paper is not suitable for some photographic processes such as albumen prints

Rag paper: 100% cotton fibre (cellulose), lignin-free paper (unbuffered).
Good quality artist’s drawing paper usually meets this criterion.
Product:

  • Alpha Cellulose Paper
  • Arches “White Vellum” drawing paper.
  • Silver Safe Photo Paper
  • Four flap enclosures
  • Wrapping
  • Backing paper for sleeves
  • Photographic materials
  • Works on paper
  • Good art suppliers
  • Preservation suppliers
1
  • Avoid coloured paper (particularly black)
  • Make sure paper contains no sizing or other additives
Photomount board : 100% cotton fibre (cellulose), lignin-free mount board (unbuffered)
  • Mounting
  • Four flap enclosure support
  • Backing board in sleeves
  • Enclosures
  • Photographic materials
  • Works on paper
  • Textiles (silk)
  • Good art suppliers
  • Selected framer & framing suppliers
  • Preservation suppliers
1
  • Avoid coloured board (particularly black).
Museum Mount board : 100% cotton fibre (cellulose) mount board (buffered)
  • Mounting
  • Backing board in sleeves
  • Enclosures
  • Works on paper, particularly acidic material (inc. bound volumes)
  • Selected framers and framing suppliers
  • Preservation suppliers
1
  • Avoid coloured board
  • Buffered mount board is not suitable for some photographic processes such as albumen prints.

Archival board:
Cotton or linen pulp (may have small percentage of treated wood pulp), non-bleeding dyes, neutral or alkaline sizing, usually buffered.

Product:

  • Corrugated Single and Double Wall board
  • Library Board
  • Enclosures (e.g. boxing or folders)
  • Backing board in framing (Corrugated archival board often used)
  • All materials (with the exception of some photographs) particularly in environments  with high humidity.
  • The Library Shop (State Library of Queensland)
  • Preservation suppliers
1-2
  • Boards made with 100% cotton or linen pulp will be more stable than those with any wood pulp content. If concerned, regularly check for signs of discolouration.
  • Buffered board is not suitable for some photographic processes such as albumen prints.

Unbuffered acid-free Tissue: cotton or linen pulp, no buffering.

Product tradenames:

  • Light Impressions:
  • Renaissance Tissue ™
  • Interleaving photograph albums
  • Wrapping (including textiles such as silk)
  • Photographic materials
  • Textiles (silk)
  • The Library Shop (State Library of Queensland)
  • Preservation suppliers
1-2
  • There are many tissues available at craft shops etc. Ask for manufacturing specifications if unsure of the quality as not all acid-free  tissue is made of stable materials. Most readily available acid-free tissue is buffered.

Buffered acid-free tissue: cotton or linen pulp, 3% calcium carbonate buffering.

Tradename:

  • Light Impressions: Apollo Tissue ™
  • Interleaving
  • Wrapping
  • Works on paper
  • Bound volumes (non photographic content)
  • The Library Shop (State Library of Queensland)
  • Preservation suppliers
1-2
  • As above

The procedures described here have been used by State Library  of Queensland in the care of its collections and are considered suitable by State Library as described; however, State Library will not be responsible for damage to your collections should damage result from the use of these procedures

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