Mounting an 1870's map...


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Jul 20, 2005
Our town Mayor came by and wants me to frame an 1870's map of our town. He let me know it's OKAY to permanently mount it to foam board as it's very fragile the way it is.
The problem? this goes against what I believe. How can I mount it good and flat on foam and have it 100% reversable?? what are some of the products you use?
Yeah, you could use Artcare restore and the adhesive would be technically reversible, but the amount of handling required to remove it from this board will likely seriously damage it.

I wouldn't mount this. Mylar would probably be the best bet if he doesn't want to spring for the linen backing.

edie the todaymustbemylarday goddess
Okay.. Now with the mylar, can I dry mount this whole encapsulation to foam board or will the heat damage the mylar?
Is this encapsulation firm enough to make the map flat and not "sag" against the outer mylar sheet?
We need to know the size, and a more complete description of the paper. Is it heavily creased at folds, or is it rolled? Is it all there, or are parts torn or eaten away?

Clear film is a protective, non-invasive alternative to dry mounting. No heat is involved and you do not need any special tools -- only 3M #889 double sided tape and a burnishing tool to activate the bonds.
Once encapsulated, you could use 3M spray 77 to mount it to fom-cor or whatever backing you'll use.

First wipe clean the mylar film with a clean dry cloth to remove any film that may have formed on the mylar. Spray the back of the mylar and stick it down... works great and even if someday the adhesive lets off the map is still preserved.

Dave Makielski
Originally posted by artisteric:
The problem? this goes against what I believe. How can I mount it good and flat on foam and have it 100% reversable??
Question for you... (I'm sure this topic has been manhandled all over the place), but where do we, as framers, draw the line between doing what we believe is appropriate for conservation and doing what will please the customer?

Conservation framing can be very expensive. And many of our customers "just want it on the wall" at a realistic price.

We like to inform the customer about conservation methods, but we leave the final decision up to them. If they wish something "less" than we recommend, we ask (in a very polite way) that they sign the order ticket.

Sometimes I think the framing industry has just gone bonkers over conservation methods. I want to preserve everything that comes in the shop, too; but I don't want to sound like McDonald's "Super Size" campaign at the counter, either.

Just my 2 cents.

Good luck!

PS: The Mayor! Sound like you're cooking!!
Is it the mayor's personal map, or the town's?

That might make a difference in how you approach the project. In either case, 1870's for Michigan is not to be sneezed at. It might be worth some time to explain the long term ramifications of adhesive on an historically significant piece.

If it is in good shape, why not just frame as usual with hinges etc?

If it is in bad shape, it can be encapsulated or it can be backed with Japanese paper by a conservator and then framed as per usual.

Regardless of the map's actual ticket price value, they are not making 1870's maps anymore, and its rarity will only increase.

Susan has a point for mass produced contemporary items, but this is not that.

Nothing wrong with a nice encapsulation.

Rebecca, It is property of the town and they just have it tacked to plywood for now. I don't actually have it in possesion right now but I have seen it. Upon completion of another job from him, he mentioned he'll be bringing it in in a few days.
So mylar is best? It's just old paper a few wrinkles and some missing corners. But it is flat.

Hey Rebecca.. what area of Vancouver you from? I moved from Fort Langley a few years ago. Suredo miss it!
Okay.. maybe this sounds stupid to you pros. But what about floating it between two sheets of glass with black/black foam board?
We framed a front page from the Washington Post the day after Lincoln was assassinated. The paper had been mounted to what looked like Japanese rice paper. In the missing areas you could see the rice paper clearly as a very thin white paper. On the printed areas it was totally invisible. Hinge areas were left on at the top, incredibly strong. A paper conservator had done the job. We had to frame it so both sides showed. The mounting was not cheap, neither were the results.

Hi Artist Eric -

Fort Langley is wonderful. I love it there. I've recently moved from East Van to Sechelt. Love it here too!

What is best depends on their budget. What you want to avoid is harming it. If it's tacked to plywood, you'll need to pry up the tacks v. carefully (slip a piece of matboard or something under your fulcrum). Once it's released, you'll have a better idea of what you're dealing with. If it is v. fragile, don't even try to do that, but pass on to a paper conservator as is.

If it is in good shape - i.e. you can handle it without bits breaking off etc. - just follow normal conservation framing practices, the guys here can advise you on that.

If it is real fragile then it needs overall support. Mylar encapsulation is the least expensive way to go (ask Jim for details, he is Mylar King) but it adds shine.

If they have an actual treatment budget (or can be talked into one) and it is v. fragile, track down a local paper conservator for a consult and treatment proposal.

The trouble with overall adhesives is that they can damage over time. And IMO part of the charm of paper is that it moves. To me, flat flat paper (drymounted or squished) looks dead.

Once you get it, report back with more particulars and I'm sure we'll all work hard to help you give it the treatment and framing it deserves.

No don't even think of two sheets of glass etc. Way too dangerous. :eek:


Rebecca's points are ALWAYS well-taken. (I did go overboard a bit on my post on conservation. I apologize.

I, also, like the idea of mounting to Japanese rice paper. I have seen this done and it would be a *very* professional way to present this piece. Encapsulating, though less expensive, would be my second choice.
To sell Mylar encapsulation you really need a sample in your store. A large segment of my customer base really doesn't like the glossiness of the product. I have tried different things to reduce the glare of the product. I have a group of collectors that want the full conservation at all cost so they overlook the shiny mirror effect.

Having said that, almost anything you do will be better than thumb tacked to plywood. Anything