• Sarah, Fellows Framing

Conservation and Museum Framing Qualification

Back in 2016 when I did my guild certified framing exam I knew straight away ( in fact driving back home after the exam I was thinking about it) I wanted to learn more, progress my skill set, offer my clients more, as well as be able to confidently work with treasured items, new and old, that need the best quality of framing.


To achieve this, I have been working in the background for the last few years reading, practicing and learning to a point that I could undertake and pass a certified framing advanced exam in conservation framing.


The principle behind the conservation practice when framing is to protect and preserve items while leaving its original condition unchanged. An important consideration for valuable and historical items.


I am pleased to say I did the exam a few weeks ago and am over the moon to say I passed with flying colours. It was a long exam where I had three set pieces that I had framed dismantled and scored, a practical section where I demonstrated hinging with mulberry tissue hinges (level 1/museum) and identification of mountboard types and standards, and a written paper including producing a condition report. The assessor was lovely and gave lots of feedback and tips.




It’s been and will continue to be a fascinating part of my framing journey. Being able to identify (well usually!) the numerous types of items that come in, assess the condition, advise on the best framing or when in need of restorative work referring to a conservator is a satisfying thing to do. Just as fascinating is learning about the stories that go with the items.


For me it’s like a rabbit hole once you start reading and chatting about it you realise how much there is to this area. Who would ever have thought that art could have so many substrates from stone to paper to toast, yes toast even! Or that certain mountboards contain zeolites, molecular traps that collect airborne acidic gases which is then neutralised by an alkaline buffer also in the mountboard.


Items need protecting from several threats namely relative humidity, light, heat/temperature, acids, airborne pollutants (dust, soot), insects and mould, and poor framing materials and techniques, the latter one I can pre-empt by correct framing. I will be writing more in depth about these threats so please check out the blog page regularly.










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