Chapter 32: Evaluating Materials used for Collection Storage

Pamela Hatchfield, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

This chapter discusses the evaluation and testing of materials used in collection storage. The long term stability and health of collection materials may be affected by interactions with their environment – either through direct contact with their supports, or indirectly, through interactions with volatile substances in the air around them. A variety of sophisticated analytical techniques applied to the testing of materials considered for use in the collection environment is described, in addition to simpler, more affordable testing methods accessible to smaller institutions. The advantages and complications inherent in this range of procedures is discussed, along with suggestions for how to approach the choice of materials for proximity to collections.

Key words: exhibit, display, materials, collection, storage, testing, pollutant