Nov 29, 2019
By: Camille Crevier-Lalonde
My work as an intern as part of my course in applied museology at Montmorency College often consist of solving problems to support and display objects that may have specific requirements or restrictions. Making a mount is always about the condition of the object, the center of gravity and the structural stability of the object.
During my internship I had the occasion of making storage mounts for a variety of objects, some of them representing more of a challenge than others. My favourite mount making experience was with child’s pants worn during a walking out ceremony.
The first step was to construct padding for the leather pants. Measurements had to be taken for sewing small pads of synthetic fabric (Tyvek- high density polyethylene material padded with polyester fibers). The padding is useful for the object : the weight of the leather is distributed equally on the padding, causing less stress on the object and maintaining the fabric in a position that resemble the natural position of the object before it came on loan.
From the perspective of conservation, organic collections are the most fragile material types in a museum. Light, temperature/humidity variations and insects may deteriorate any leather object: that is why it is important to use stable materials and non-acid fibers (like Tyvek) that will keep the objects from deteriorating.
As an intern, I learned that the objects do not always need as much support as we would think. Additions of material may cause stress on a fragile object. Some leather ornaments, such as leather fringes, can be hard to present directly on a mount, because they are made of a malleable fabric. Sometimes, the object is a good mount in itself for these ornaments. In the picture below, we can see that the pants are supporting the fringes well.
The second step was to construct a tray for supporting the object in storage. The pants were installed on a rigid support, consisting of non-acidic Hollinger board, covered with a layer of microfoam and acid free cotton fabric. The fabric had been pinned to adjust equally the tension of the textile on the mount, then taped at the back of the board, with acid free tape. The pants were held in place on the board with cotton ribbons.
This Hollinger board provided an easy way of supporting the pants in storage; the pants can now be observed without any movement of the object itself, which is good for the prevention of any damage during storage.