ERC 2018 Practical session: Packing Museum Objects for Storage
Laura Cronin (Horniman Museum, UK), Vaughan Jones and Tony Cranfield (Crown Fine Art, UK).
When I applied to go to the ERC, I was particularly focused on learning from the various collection moves, and large-scale projects that had the speakers were discussing. A practical session on packing objects seemed a perfect fit.
The first of the practical sessions at the ERC, this new format allowed delegates to hear a lecture on packing followed by some time afterwards for questions and handling of the packing materials which were discussed. The first half of the talk was delivered by Laura who discussed the techniques and materials used at the Horniman Museum as long-term storage solutions.
Laura also talked through labelling the objects, ideally attaching identifying paperwork to the objects and not the packing which can break down over time or become easily removed. Particularly delicate or complicated items would have packing instructions on the outside of their box, for most this involved a quick, concise explanation, however in certain instances it was easier to photograph the packing process.
The second half of the session was led by two packers from Crown Fine Art, Vaughan Jones and Tony Cranfield.
They discussed the importance of keeping packing methods simple, as the more complicated the packing the method the increased risk to the object as mistakes are easily made. They discussed their preference for Tissue over other barrier methods, such as spider tissue, which can be abrasive and Tyvek; which as a petrol derived product will breakdown to leave an oily residue and has been known to leave an impression on sculptures, especially those with a highly polished surface. Following this discussion, we then broke into smaller groups looking at the different materials discussed.
The group I was in looked at how Crown uses a leather/shoe knife to cut through Plastazote quickly and without creating any messy small particles, so much cleaned than a bread knife I had previously been used to using, this has definitely made my Christmas wish list.
Written by Nikki Foster, Collections Management Assistant, Lakeland Arts