RIT’s Image Permanence Institute receives $429,409 federal grant from IMLS

Research will inform new preservation guidelines for museums preparing paper-based objects for transit and display

Image Permanence Institute

In many museums, paper-based collection objects are given multiple “layers” of protection when preparing them for traveling exhibitions and loans. This is done to safeguard collections from damage while in transit. In the first step, each object is placed in a sealed frame package, which is then inserted into a frame.

The Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology has received a National Leadership Grant award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for an unprecedented research project designed to identify the most cost-efficient and environmentally responsible methods of preparing paper-based collection objects for transit and display while maintaining preservation standards.

IPI is a university-based research center in RIT’s College of Art and Design dedicated to supporting the preservation of cultural heritage collections in libraries, archives, and museums worldwide.

The three-year project—funded in full for $429,409—will be led by Al Carver-Kubik, IPI research scientist. The study includes both field and laboratory research, and according to Carver-Kubik, “it will be the first study to collect environmental data from multiple museums’ shipping crates simultaneously.”

Data will be collected from a variety of shipping crate and packing configurations traveling through a wide range of regional climates. Laboratory experimentation will include testing the safety and relative humidity buffering capacity of crate packing materials and methods along with different microenvironment sealed frame package designs used to protect objects during transit and display.

The study’s results will be used to determine which methods are most effective and cost-efficient while producing the least amount of disposable waste. The combined field and laboratory research will provide IPI with the information necessary to create data-driven guidelines for museums to make research-based, informed, sustainable, and cost-efficient decisions for maintaining preservation standards with traveling and displaying framed paper-based collection objects.

IMLS received 61 applications this year requesting $34,854,819. Of these, 12 projects, including IPI’s, were selected to receive funding totaling $5,814,284.

Recommended News