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Archiving Collections with Volara Foam

Anyone who has ever been to a museum or gallery knows that everything there is in as pristine condition as possible. The items there are usually protected by glass and plastic, and are even usually roped off! “Please do not touch” signs can be found at every corner.  When these itemized collections are moved, cleaned, and repaired, they are taken care of by delicate, white-gloved hands. All the materials used for shipping, storage, and restoration of these items are specifically used to avoid damaging them. Here, we discuss why good conservation is important, and the foam that is commonly used for such applications, Volara.

What to Think About

When choosing the best material for museum or gallery conservation, there are a number of different aspects to consider.

  1. Nature of Storage Materials – When you start, it is important to recognize what the physical and chemical properties of the protective materials are, in this case, that would be Volara Foam. These can include texture, permeability, durability, and possible static charge. Another note of importance is whether or not this protective material will be required for long-term or short-term use.
  2. Nature of Object Being Protected – Another angle to look at is what the properties of the object that you are displaying or storing are. What materials are the object(s) made of? Texture, size, age, and condition of the item should also be taken into account. The older of more fragile the material, the weaker the structural composition may be. This would call for even more gentle care.
  3. Nature of the Environment – Environmental factors such as humidity, temperature, and amount of light exposure can have major effects on how you would want to protect the items in your collection. For example, there needs to be just the right amount of ventilation, but you also want to avoid the collection of particulate buildup on your items. Does the item need to be protected against UV radiation? If not protected appropriately, this can cause fading and deterioration.
  4. Nature of the Purpose for the Protective Material – What is the purpose of the material you are using for conservation? If it is for aesthetic purposes, then the material may need to look a certain way. If it is something that will not be visible, then the way it looks may not matter. If the application is long-term rather than short-term, then different protective materials may be recommended, as well.

What NOT to Use

For collections, there are qualities that are recommended for the materials you use, but it may be easier to recommend what you want to stay away from. In these scenarios, you would want to stay away from plastics with added fillers and other additives, because these materials can release gasses that are harmful to the item over time. You will also want to order plastics with chlorine or sulfur for the same reasons.

What is Safe

There are some safer materials for different protective uses in a gallery or museum. Polyethylene Foam, Polypropylene Foam, and Polystyrene Foam have all been used in certain ways. Out of the foams that we carry, though, none is more useful for this application than Volara.

Why Volara?

Volara is a general-purpose Polyolefin foam with extremely good chemical resistance. In fact, this foam is FDA approved for both food and health applications. This means that this foam material is safe for use around goods consumed by humans, which also means it will be safe around fragile items in a museum or gallery.  Volara foam gently cushions collections for both storage and display, and carries a smooth skin for a more aesthetic look. Volara is great for everything from padding ancient artifacts to acting as a pinning cushion for entomology. As a bonus, this foam has no harmful additives and is ozone friendly to keep all your displayed valuables safe.

Whether it is Volara or a different type of protective display material, it is of the utmost importance that all collections and artifacts are protected from display case to transport packaging.

At Foam Factory, we want to offer the best in all things foam. If you have questions about Volara or any other product that we carry, feel free to Contact Us today!

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