Framing Fragile Antique Documents

A client recently brought in his great grandparents marriage certificate to be framed.  Framing fragile antique documents can present special challenges. Like many other antique documents, this one had writing on the front and the client wanted to show the edges as well.
When a customer brings an antique document in for framing, it is likely to have significant personal value as well as monetary, cultural or historic value.

Listed below are a few things to consider prior to framing the document:
1. Mounting can be a risky procedure because it affects a document more than other methods used in framing.  Perimeter hinges, are commonly used in fragile antique documents; Since this is an adhesive mount, care should be taken to use the smallest possible area of paste to hold the document securely.
2. Matboard made of buffered, virgin alphacellouse or 100% cotton fiber with bleed-resistant, pigmented colors provide a chemically inert and long-term stable environment.  Avoid white core mats and mounting boards made of recycled alphacellouse fibers, which contain optical brighteners and other contaminates.
3. Glazing, since light is often the most damaging element for the framed display, use glazing with as much UV filtering as possible; the document would survive longer under UV-filtering glazing. The recommended glazing for this type of framing is Museum Glass.
4. Closing the frame with insulating filler boards and tightly sealed backing can also slow the rate of internal temperature and humidity changes as much as possible, reducing harmful expansion and contraction cycles.

At Dilworth Custom Framing we offer this level of quality frame and techniques; we would love to help you to preserve that special document, like we did our client above.   Many of the BIG Framing Chains can’t offer this level of service or expertise…but we can at a reasonable price as well.

Source PFM, May 2012.