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Cabinets are versatile storage units that provide excellent light and dust protection, buffer relative humidity and temperature fluctuations, and can be locked for extra security. Preferred cabinets are powder-coated metal with silicone gaskets to reduce dust and air penetration. Wood cabinets should be lined with polyaluminum laminate or formica.

If air vents are placed in a cabinet, they should be filtered so dust and gaseous pollutants do not enter. Air flow dilutes fumes produced by the stored materials. Dust filters (cotton works well) or pollutant filters can be purchased to fit commercial cabinet’s vents.

Gaskets provide airtight seals that help keep dust out of storage and display units. Rubber gaskets produce sulphur fumes that harm metal and photographic materials. Polyurethane foam gaskets create acidic gases and deteriorate to form messy dusts within cabinets. Silicone is inert. Ask for silicone gaskets from cabinet suppliers.

Custom designed cabinet interiors may have drawers, trays, shelves or brackets inside. Make sure they work smoothly. Glides should be inert polyethylene, polypropylene or teflon.

Drawers or trays
Drawers or trays are designed to store flat and fragile textiles, damaged paintings, works of art on paper (especially pastels, chalk and charcoal drawings and gouache paintings), small artifacts and maps.

Placing a rigid acid-free support under flat pieces in storage trays or drawers makes them easier to move.

In general, do not stack collections. However, if flat paper or textile collections are in good shape, some staking, interleaving with acid-free paper or card, may occur without damage. Ideally, flat items are matted so stacking places weight on the mat, not the artwork or artifact. Place the most fragile pieces on the top, sturdiest pieces on the bottom.

Make sure the bottom of each drawer does not touch the collection stored below it. Severe damage is caused by opening overfull drawers.

Three-dimensional objects and costume accessories may require storage supports to retain their shape and keep them from moving when drawers are opened and closed. Mounts may be designed to serve as exhibit supports, too.

Wardrobes are cabinets that store costumes hung on padded hangers. The best designs incorporate a shelf or drawer at the top or bottom for accessories. If the surface is dark or rough, consider lining with a smooth, light colored fabric. To keep costumes from being overcrowded, put spacers on the rod. Make sure rods are high enough that costumes do not touch the bottom of the cabinet.

Courses we recommend:


MS201: Storage for Infinity: An Overview of Museum Storage Principles (Only once in 2013)
              Course Description & Info     Instructor: Lori Benson
              Student Login    Price: $475
              Mar 4 – Mar 29, 2013      [Learn More]   


MS202: Museum Storage Facilities and Furniture
              Course Description & Info     Instructor: Lori Benson
              Student Login    Price: $475
              May 5 – May 30, 2014      [Learn More]   


MS204: Materials for Storage and Display
              Course Description & Info     Instructor: Gretchen Anderson
              Student Login    Price: $495
              Nov 4 – Nov 29, 2013     [Learn More]   
              Sep 1 – Sep 26, 2014     [Learn More]   


Books and products we recommend:


Working with Polyethylene Foam and Fluted Plastic SheetCCI Tech Bulletin #14 Working with Polyethylene Foam and Fluted Plastic Sheet by Carl Schlichting 
Examines several techniques and illustrates a series of basic approaches that have been developed for working with polyethylene foam and fluted plastic. The many detailed illustrations clarify for the reader the fabrication methods described in the text.

Working with Polyethylene Foam & Fluted Plastic $18.00

[Learn More]   



Links to related information on other sites:

Viking Cabinets

Museum Storage Cabinets (Conserve-O-Gram 4/1) – (An Adobe PDF file) conserveogram/04-01.pdf

Installing the Retrofit Gasket Kit (Conserve-O-Gram 4/3) – (An Adobe PDF file) conserveogram/04-03.pdf

Modifying Museum Storage Cabinets (Conserve-O-Gram 4/13) – (An Adobe PDF file) conserveogram/04-13.pdf