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Museum mount definition

Sherry ;
This will probably get you a bunch of different definitions. To get a true definition you will probably need to ask a MUSEUM, and then different ones will have different explanations for why.

Many Framers like to use this phrase to impress their clientele when they mean they are doing their ultimate service, and if there are differences in what museums think just imagine what individual framers think.

This IMHO rates right behind ACID FREE as one of the most over used and meningless phrases in the industry.

But then I am not actively framing anymore .But I'll bet you get a bunch of variances.
Our Fine Art Trade Guild calls it 'Cotton Museum board. Below is the bumphf from their site, I was going to just add a link - but it goes on about all the different types of board, right down to acid laden stuff. So, sorry for the long-winded post.

On a personal note, even after all this - the best quality 'Museum' boards, like most conservation boards, protect artwork by doing nothing. Artcare boards, made from cotton or not, outperform them, so why can't they be put in the same bracket - or even one above such as 'ACTIVE MUSEUM'

It's all conservation to me. But anyway .....

Test references are given in brackets
1. Cotton Museum Board - Only boards that meet the Cotton Museum Board Standard can be used for museum level framing, but these can also be used for conservation level framing.
1.1 Pulp
1.1.1. It must be made from 100% cotton fibre; this includes all facing and backing papers.
1.1.2. It must not contain post consumer waste. (TAPPI T 401; Graff ‘C’ Fibre Analysis –IPST)
1.1.3. Pre consumer waste must be of a known, identifiable and consistent quality.
1.1.4. Impurities - The product shall be free of metal particles, waxes, plasticisers, residual bleach, peroxide, or other components that could lead to the degradation of paper and artefacts in contact with, or in the immediate vicinity of, the cotton museum board.
1.1.5. The product shall contain less than 0.0008% of reducible sulphur (TAPPI T 406)
1.1.6. Free Metallic Impurities – Iron shall not exceed 150 ppm and copper should not exceed 6 ppm (TAPPI T 266)
1.1.7. The stock must be free of optical brightening agents.
1.18 Any use of the term ‘Rag’ must relate to product made only from cotton fibre pulp or virgin cotton linters (see glossary). Its use in product specifications must be avoided.
1.2 pH
1.2.1. Unbuffered museum board will have a pH in the range of 6.5 to 7.5 (TAPPI T 509). When used for mounting for display of photographic prints it must pass the Photographic Activity Test. (ISO 14523-1999 or ANSI/APM IT9.16-1994) - See Introduction for special notes on photographs
1.2.2. Buffered museum board will have a pH in the range of 7.5 – 9.5 (TAPPI T 509). When used for mounting for display of photographic prints it must pass the Photographic Activity Test. (PAT ISO 14523-1999 or ANSI/APM IT9.16-1994) -
See Introduction for special notes on photographs.
1.2.3. Any use of the term ‘acid free’ must be supplemented by the glossary definition. Its use in product specifications must be avoided.
1.3 Fillers and Alkaline Reserve – Manufacturers should include the list of additives on the Museum Board label, except where the filler is used exclusively for the purpose of buffering.
1.3.1 Fillers can only be allowed where not detrimental to the permanence and performance of the product.
1.3.2. Alkaline reserves (ASTM D4988-89) and activated carbon/charcoal may be used as fillers (ASTM D4988-89). Alkaline reserves will constitute a minimum of 2% and a maximum of 5% of the total volume by weight.
1.3.3. Calcium, zinc and magnesium carbonate are allowable alkaline reserves.
1.3.4. Zeolites are allowable as fillers when used with the appropriate alkaline reserve and should be clearly declared in the product specification. The Guild acknowledges these new products have been widely accepted as inert; they remain under careful scrutiny.
1.4 Sizing
Only neutral or alkaline sizing must be used.
1.5 Colour
Dyes and/or pigments must be non-bleeding, lightfast and resistant to abrasion.
1.5.1. Bleeding - (test based on TAPPI T 475) Any dye or pigment in the board shall show no bleeding when soaked in distilled water for 48 hours at room temperature while held down with a weight against a sheet of white bond or blotting paper.
1.5.2. Lightfastness – (BS1006:97) The colour of the stock must not register at less than 5 on the Blue Wool Scale, nor change more than 5 points of brightness (TAPPI T 452) after exposure in Sunlighter 11 for 96 hours, or when exposed in a standard fadometer for 36 hours (ASTM D3424).
1.5.3. Abrasion – (CROCK Test, BS1006 X 12.1978) Alternatively, an empirical and subjective test is to apply one pound (453gm) of pressure, rub the surface of the board back and forth with a white muslin cloth about ten times. Nothing should transfer or rub off.
1.6 Lamination Adhesives
1.6.1. Any adhesive used shall have a pH of 7 – 9.5.
1.6.2. Any adhesive used shall not soften or run under normal conditions and use.
1.6.3. Any adhesive used shall not discolour, or fail, causing delamination over time.
1.7 Moisture Content
The equilibrium moisture content of the product should be in the range between 4 and 8% at the time of manufacture
1.8 Markings
No markings (product ID, bar code etc.) on the board itself.
1.9 Thickness
Thickness will be described in metric units. Tolerance: plus or minus 7.5%. Stating imperial equivalents (inches) is acceptable additional information. (TAPPI T 411)
1.10 Board Dimensions
1.10.1. Dimensions will be expressed in metric units – millimetres (mm) or centimetres (cm). Stating imperial equivalents (inches) is acceptable additional information.
1.10.2 Tolerance – – zero minus tolerance, 3mm plus tolerance
1.10.3 , squaring and tolerance for length and width must comply with ASTM D5625.
1.11 Quality Control
1.11.1. The product should be free of fingerprints, dirt, scuffs, bubbles, knots, and other abrasive particles.
1.112. Edges should be cut square and clean.
1.113. The product should be free of bent corners and delamination of plys and surface papers
1.114. The product should have an acceptable level of flatness and be in equilibrium with ‘normal’ conditions.
1.12 Packaging
1.12.1. The product should be packaged so that it will maintain the moisture content during transit that it had at the time of manufacture.
1.12.2. The product should be packaged securely for transit.
1.12.3. Packaging will clearly indicate the content quality – Cotton Museum – and a batch number, size and thickness of the board.
Wow John, thanks for that.

But my question has to do with museum MOUNTING charges. I'm in the process of reviewing my mounting charges and I've seen "Museum mounting".

What does a Museum Mount include exactly? Hinge mounts? Mylar mounts? Other? I'm really not sure.


Mounts/Mats - Pavements/Sidewalks, I'll get the hang of it all one day!

OK then, again from the FATG site.......

Undermount - There should be a barrier layer between the artwork and the back board; this should be made from Cotton Museum board at least 1200 microns thick. For photographs unbuffered cotton museum mountboard should be used. The undermount (back mount) should be the same size as the windowmount (mat) and hinged to it along the longer side using museum-quality paper or fabric with either starch paste or SCMC (sodium carboxy methyl cellulose). Note: Artwork stuck down onto acid board should be referred to a conservator for possible removal of the board.

Attaching artwork - The artwork should be hinged to the undermount (back mount) with T-hinges on the top edge, or a similarly reversible process should be used, such as corner pockets made from naturally lignin-free museum quality paper. It is not acceptable to make hinges from self-adhesive tape; hinges should be made from naturally lignin-free, pH neutral paper and the adhesive made from starch paste or SCMC (sodium carboxy methyl cellulose). Hinges should be torn, not cut. Hinges should be weaker than, or the same paper weight as, the artwork - never heavier. Hinges should be attached to the back of the artwork, not the front, and should overlap onto the artwork the minimum amount necessary to give proper support Note: for the majority of art on paper 5mm should be sufficient. Artwork should be hinged to the undermount (back mount) , not the back of the windowmount (mat). Artwork must be properly centred and free from blemish caused by framing.
John that was a very in depth explanation .But I'll bet that someone like Rebecca or Hugh could give a different set of guidelines that will still meet the definition as they are familiar with it.

And they and it seems you are doing this on a regular basis difficulty comes from the fact that what some ordinary framers charge for MUSEUM MOUNTING and what they include in it vary greatly from shop to shop while the TERM stays the same.
I hope I am not seeming evasive. However I don't think there is any clear cut answer to Sherry Lee's question " What does a Museum Mount include exactly?"But definitely none for what to charge, since even if the same services are rendered other variables like location ,overhead, competitive pricing, etc. enters the picture.
My suggestion would be to scrap the term and use real words that indicate what you are doing in the mounting process.

For example, if you are hinging with Japanese paper & starch paste, call it a protective hinge mount. If you're mounting with gummed linen tape, call it a linen hinge mount. If you're mounting with clear film, call it a clear film mount, and so on. That makes sense to me, so that's how I identify the mounts in my shop.

"Museum" means nothing consistently in framing. It's among the commonly misused words.
Ditto Buddy.

I would think Museum mounting would have to do with mounting something so that is as close to 100% reversible as possible.

Robos examples wouldn't mean anything if its a textile or penny. His examples are also void if your framing something actually needs an acidic environment.

To me its just a generic term and I can't see what use it would have in pricing.
I don't think Sherry Lee wants advice on pricing -just on what the definition of museum 'mounting' is.

It depends on just what you are mounting, of course it does, but I think we are talking basics here - not vellum, not fabric, not floating, not 3D objects - just basics - the biggest percentage of jobs - i.e. - work on paper and for that the FATG's definitions are a good foundation.

& I don't like the FATG!

What about FACTS? bound to be more of the same here. Also on the PPFA website and no doubt by doing a Grumble search.
John as I said your comments are very through and helpful as are your suggestions of looking in the guidelines of FATG and FACT. But I think you are missing some very obvious points made by Sherry ( "I'm in the process of reviewing my MOUNTING CHARGES and I've seen "Museum mounting".)
And may be removed from a problem seen over here ( the Term is misused and Misunderstood to the extent that it is all but meaningless in TRUE Museum Use.And is most commonly used to Impresss clientle or becuase the framer thinks the use of some techniques or materials makes the total package on a par with what museums do,while it doesn't even meet your explanation completely and Some Museums do way more.

But you answers are very thoughtful and based on sound principles.
I've looked in Picture Framing, Vol. 1 by Vivian Kistler & The Mounting and Laminating Handbook 2nd edition by Christ Paschke and see nothing in the index of either book - looked under mount, mounting & museum.

Where did this term originate anyway? This is why I'm asking what a charge for "Museum Mount" includes????
Museum/conservation mount of an 8x10? or 12x56? or 30 x 43?

Photo, rifle, or rice paper original painting?

Then there is that Bulldog sized silk battle flag from Guadachannal....

I think Jim has the best handle on it here....

Start by the "Type" of mounting, the go back at it with sizes for pricing.
THANK YOU Jim, Baer, Buddy, Jay & RoboFramer!!

You all summed it up just as to WHY I can't define a Museum Mount!

I WILL in fact go back yet once again to my POS & break down the classifications of mounts, as I KNOW they exist & as Jim suggested!

It's ok with me if I never see that term "Museum Mount" again - but I betcha I will!
If people want the best and most appropriate treatment for their works of art, and they ask for "museum mounting", when they bring in items of sports memorabilia perhaps we should offer "ballpark mounting".
:cool: Rick
Jeez Rick, I thought that was "Ballpark pricing". I think ballpark mounting is the stuffed mascot head on a plaque just as you come in the park . . .
I'm with Jim, but would suggest even more specific descriptions


mat brand

- Japanese paper and wheat starch paste hinges

- Japanese paper and methylcellulose hinges (brand name)

- gummed linen hinges (brand name)

- pressure sensitive linen hinges (brand name)

- pressure sensitive hinges (brand name)

- paper or Mylar etc. corners/edge mounts...(brand name)

etc. etc.

Location of hinges/tapes is also helpful (top,sides bottom...) as is whether the back and window mats are ATGed together on or off the art. Though I realize someone who
ATGs the art isn't likely to mention it, reading that someone hasn't done so makes for a quicker mat removal.

A little bit of info scrawled on the reverse of the backmount helps the next guy figure out what to do, and reassures (or not!) the client.

Then you don't have to get into ambiguous "museum mount" stuff, but are really describing method and materials, much more useful in the long run, helps in unframing and also how products age in real time and environments.

Perhaps using the phrase “Preservation Framing” techniques would be better and definitive, then charging for the type of mount or hinging you are doing. It’s one of the reasons I so dislike the five levels of framing such as the FATG describes. I think it just leads to confusion and perpetuates terms such as museum and acid free. Neither term is definitive when it comes to preservation framing. If you are doing a mats, with traditional hinging using a wheat starch paste, Japanese paper, full four ply back or mount board you are doing preservation framing,

I earned the GCF in England a few years ago, because I liked that they did a hands on exam and not just a written one. I stopped using the initials because I so disagree with a lot of the before mentioned text which was done after I had taken the test. I believe the text is largely written by manufactures or at least approved by manufactures before it was published.

Preservation framing does not require only cotton pulp boards. Purified wood pulp is just as permanent and non damaging as cotton. The scientist at The Getty told me personally that all things being equal, the use of cotton or purified wood pulp was interchangeable in use . The companies would like cotton to be purchased because it sells for more money, but is no more acceptable for preservation framing. The use of cotton is a choice not a dictate.

Artcare is not mentioned because the patent is owned by one company. It is seldom mentioned in any literature because the, writer, magazine or association would seem to be promoting a product, BUT it is a disservice to framers who don’t know what a service Zeolites perform and therefore don’t use boards that contain it.

We are a small industry with not that many companies and it is in their interest that framers be confused. It is crucial for educators, and writers to use definitive language and keep the descriptions of process as simple as possible. I think most companies will actually do better when their products are clearly defined as suitable for preservation framing or not and techniques are accepted as suitable for preservation framing. It seem sot me it would be a simpler world.

Don't mean to sound so preachy. My buttons get pushed and I am off and running. Sorry.
Sherry, I had to go look, but I call it "conservation mounting."

To me, that term applies to works of art on paper. If I am mounting an object, a textile, a canvas or something other than paper, it's usually a different price structure.

Conservation mounting (with respect to pricing and practice) means torn paper hinges with starch paste (usually Nori) on a 4-ply alpha-cellulose board. Since I price mounting separately from matting and glass, I could - in theory - use conservation mounting with a wood pulp mat and regular glass. In practice, I don't think I'd do that.

Again, from a pricing standpoint, I have a separate option I call hinge mounting that might involve framers tape or Mylar corners. I'm not necessarily satisfied with the terminology, but I make a point to explain to the customer how I plan to attach the item to be framed (while being ever-mindful of the notorious "glazed eyes of disinterest.")
The place that I used to deal with did alot of framing. What they did was a sling mount, all four sides, then linen tape on the outside edges, to hold the channels down. That board was hinged to the face mat, behind the two was blue, or white corogated conservation board. Sometimes, depending on the work there would be coroplast, it depends, some museum are not into coroplast, because they feel it has been know to catch fire easier than blue board. Think that was right.

And then the japanese paper hinges on other work.

A term that will include all means of securing
the framed item: hinges, paper edge support, polymer strip or sheet support, spacer support,
etc. is preservation (conservation) housing. This
also avoids the confusing term "mount", which in
some quarters refers to the board and in others,
suggests that the item under consideration has been adhered to a substrate.

Sherry, (I can tell you're going through the SSS software setup! ;) )

I pretty much follow Jim's suggestion. I added a number of mounting options that were specific to material and technique. The "Hinge Mount" option for me is Nori paste and mulberry paper. But, I left the "Museum Mount" in the system at a higher cost. If a customer is REALLY giving me a hard time and telling me how they think something should be mounted, then I select the Museum Mount option which is more money.

Don't forget to have selections in the "Specialty" section for your mounting options. Often, one opening will have one mount and another opening will have another. So, I have mount options setup at "less $$" in the specialty section. Then, since the "mountign Charge" is based on the "overall size" of the job, I select the "most expensive" mounting option as the "mount" and add the others to remind me at assembly time. (Note! that is in addition to, not instead of, an "extra opening" charge.)
When customers have come in asking for "museum mount", after a number of questions, I usually find they are actually referring to an 8 ply mat.

Not to confuse the thread....

Originally posted by FF_Hoboken:
When customers have come in asking for "museum mount", after a number of questions, I usually find they are actually referring to an 8 ply mat.
Or acid free glass...
Once again we've unleashed that what one would think is a 'framing universal language' isn't so universal after all! It sounds as though the term "museum mount" IS a catch-all term which is exactly what I ASSUMED when I attempted to put it into use.

The Grumblers rise again...you PROVED it - and I thank you all!!