What is the best method for framining ancient manuscripts?
Q. Dear Donia,
I would like some advice on how to frame ancient manuscripts dated 1400 A.D. Is a normal wood frame with a plastic clear cover or glass any good? Please advise. Thanks, Mohd
A. Dear Mohd,
Part of how you frame the items will depend on whether they are on paper or parchment. Paper items can easily be mounted with either polyester or polyethylene corners or Japanese tissue hinges attached with wheat starch paste. Parchment will need specialist care for mounting and for that you may need to find a conservator. To find a conservator near you, you can consult the Conservation Register of the Institute of Conservation.
Regardless of what material the manuscripts are on, you will want to use archival or museum-grade mat board.
The best mat board to look for is what we call museum rag board. It comes in many shades of "white" and you should have not trouble finding one to match your manuscripts. Before going to a framer, please take a look at the helpful leaflet from the Northeast Document Conservation Center on "How to Do Your Own Matting and Hinging." This guide will give you the information you need to ask the right questions.
As for the glazing, you will want to look for glass or Plexiglas that has UV blocking properties. TruVue glass and Acrylite plexi are two examples. Choosing between glass and plexi depends on what you want. Glass will be clearer, hold less of a static charge, and be more resistant to scratching but is heavier.
If you select a wood frame, be sure that the framer uses a vapor barrier such as Marvel Seal to prevent the volatile organic compounds from the wood to affect the manuscripts.
Good luck with your project!