Exhibit Mounts
Welcome to the Collections Caretaker e-Newsletter from Northern States Conservation Center. The newsletter is designed to bring you timely and helpful content that is pertinent to situations we all encounter in our museum and archives work. Feel free to let us know what topics you would like to see featured in Collections Caretaker or even contribute an article.
In This Issue

Mount Design
Featured Courses
Covid-19 Resources
October Courses
November Courses
Conferences and Meetings
Mount Design
by Tom Bennett
Aga Khan Museum - Toronto, Canada
When designing the mount for each object, a number of factors are considered, either consciously or unconsciously. Usually the object is balanced on the mount using its center of gravity. Determine where this by holding the object in your hands, if you can, and gauging its balance points. If you can't hold the object, it is more difficult to determine, and may involve some guess work. With time, finding an object's center of gravity becomes second nature to you.

A mount shows the object in its natural position, sometimes showing an object opened or closed. Mounts should not conflict with an object's original intended position. This helps visitors "read" the object and understand its function. The mount should also be compatible with display heights and angles in the display case or area.

A well-designed mount is invisible to the casual observer and does not interfere with the aesthetic appreciation of the object shown in the mount.

Mounts are protective supports and thus help reduce damage rather than add to it. Long term effects from the pull of gravity, such as droop and sag, will be prevented by a fully supporting mount. Look at the object in its mount and visualize arrows pointing downwards. Are there areas that are unsupported and will move over time?

Similarly, a good mount design dampens vibration effects. One support rod may cause the object to whip or move if there are vibrations in the gallery. Two support rods may eliminate this possibility. Padding absorbs small vibrations, reducing the effect on the object. For traveling exhibits, objects might be transported in their mount. Then you might design the mount so there is support from more than one direction, eliminating shifting or movement during travel.

Make sure objects are easy to remove from their mount when necessary.

Design the mount so that the object's weight is supported by mechanical joins rather than adhesive joins.

And, finally, design considerations include a reasonable fabrication time for each mount. It is easy to overthink and overcomplicate the process, which leads to excess time, and possibly materials costs, for the mount construction.

Excerpt from MS238 Design and Construction of Exhibit Mounts starting October 5,
2020. Want to learn more? Join Tom Bennett for an interesting and informative
hands-on journey through exhibit mounts and mounting techniques.

Tom Bennett, recently retired from Museum Manager at the Heritage Museum at Wells Fargo in Anchorage, Alaska, has worked as a professional museum mount maker for over 25 years. He attended the University of Victoria British Columbia, Heritage Preservation Program's basic mountmaking course and learned the rest of his skills on the job. His mounts appear in the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Alaska State Museum, the Museum of the Aleutians, the Washington Historical Society, the Monterey Historical Society, the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, the Port of Seattle (Seattle-Tacoma Airport), and National Park Service and US Forest Service visitor centers. He has worked for five different museum exhibit design and fabrication firms as well as being the former director of the Alaska Museum of Natural History. Tom Bennett works in a variety of materials, including Plexiglas, brass, wood, and polyethylene foam.

Featured Course: The Mission Statement: Is it really that important? 
The heart of every museum is its collection. A mission statement is critical to preserving that collection. Participants in The Mission Statement will discuss their mission statements and whether they really make a difference. Peggy has seen and heard it all as a consultant to small and large museums. She will help you figure out ways to make your mission statement work for you.    
Join Peggy Schaller for this important short course and find out the answer to the question--is a mission statement really that important?  MS007 The Mission Statement: Is it Really That Important? begins November 2, 2020.

Covid-19 Resources

Many organizations have put together information on resources for Museums and Covid-19.  Here are a few links to those Resources.  Check back with these organizations for updates.

Mountain-Plains Museums Association Covid-19 Resources page

Western Museums Association Covid-19 Resources page

Association of Academic Museums and Galleries Covid-19 Updates page
Use the drop-down menu in the upper right to find Webinars, Virtual tours and more

American Alliance of Museums Covid-19 Resources

American Association for State and Local History Covid-19 Resources

Early Bird Discounts Available for Full Length Courses
An Early Bird Discount is available for anyone who signs up for a full length course from museumclasses.org 30 days prior to the start of that course.  
Sign up for a full length course up to 30 days prior to its start and save $100.00!
For our course list or to sign up: http://www.collectioncare.org/course-list 
To take advantage of this discount, you must enter coupon code EARLYBIRD at checkout at collectioncare.org
The Early Bird Discount deadline for November Courses is October 3, 2020  
October Courses
October 12 to 16, 2020
Instructor:  Diana Komejan
As we march boldly toward the 22nd century, artifact collecting includes that most fragile of materials - plastic. Not only is it in our collections, but it is used to house our collections, too. What problems have you seen? What problems have others seen? What materials are best? What can we, as caretakers, do to minimize long-term damage? Join Diana in this mini-course for discussing care and deterioration of plastics. Bring any questions you have about plastics in your museum.
October 5 to November 13, 2020
Instructor:  Karin Hostetter
Nearly every museum develops exhibits, but how can we improve communication with visitors while taking care of our objects? Exhibit Fundamentals explores exhibits from idea to final installation in a variety of settings. Topics include exhibit theory, the role of the museum's mission, creating a timeline, accessibility and script writing. Also covered are design elements, installation techniques, object safety and security, visitor safety and evaluations. Each student develops an exhibit plan for his or her museum.
October 5 to 30, 2020
Instructor:  Laura Elliff Cruz
One of the great benefits of the 21st century is the abundance of materials for storing and displaying collections. Materials for Storage and Display covers this vast array in detail. Lectures and handouts separate materials by properties: rigid, padding, barrier and attachments. Slide shows illustrate the use of each. The course emphasizes acid-free materials and how to retrofit less appropriate materials. Materials for Storage and Display keeps current with the latest materials available for preservation. Using material testing as a decision making tool is covered.
MS 214: Collections Management Databases
October 5 to 30, 2020
Instructor:  Sarah Kapellusch
A collection database is a necessary tool for accurate and efficient collections management. In Collection Management Databases you will learn what characteristics distinguish one database system from another; how a database can be used to manage inventory, conservation, pest management, and other aspects of collections management; as well as how to prepare your collection and documentation for entry into a database.
October 5 to November 13, 2020
Instructor:  Tom Bennett
Sprucing up your exhibits with safe, effective, inexpensive mounts can be easier and more fun than you thought. With a few tools, good technique and a bit of practice, you will be well on the way to presenting your objects in their most interesting light, with an eye on long-term safety and security. Design and Construction of Exhibit Mounts presents the basics of mountmaking for the small to medium-sized museum including tools, techniques and materials. Be prepared to construct mounts during the course. Students will be sent a list of materials and tools to acquire before the course commences. Come along and exercise your creative side while doing the collection a world of good.
November Courses
November 2 to 13, 2020
Instructor:  Peggy Schaller
The heart of every museum is its collection. A mission statement is critical to preserving that collection. Participants in The Mission Statement will discuss their mission statements and whether they really make a difference. Peggy has seen and heard it all as a consultant to small and large museums. She will help you figure out ways to make your mission statement work for you.
November 9 to 13, 2020
Instructor:  Karin Hostetter
What do you do with collection objects that no longer belong in the scientific collection but are too good to throw out? What do you do with the donations that just don't quite 'fit?' Use them in education collections. Their value as educational objects for the public is immeasurable.
November 2 to December 11, 2020
Instructor:  Ernest Conrad
The museum's brick exterior wall is crumbling. The powder coated metal storage shelves have active rust under the foam padding. Objects in fur storage are covered in mold. It is raining in the exhibit hall. This is the damage that occurs to museum buildings or collection when staff do not understand preservation environments. Preservation Environments is essential knowledge for any collecting institution. Everyone should understand how humidity and temperature are controlled by a building and its mechanical system. For museum staff considering a new building - and any institution planning to expand or rebuild an existing one - Preservation Environments provide important information for calculating whether the proposed improvements will actually improve the environmental control of your protective enclosure. Participants learn the advantages and disadvantages of numerous methods of temperature and humidity control. Preservation Environments does not try to turn museum professionals into engineers. Rather, it arms them with the knowledge they need to work with engineers and maintenance professionals. And helps explain why damaged occurred and how to keep it from happening again.
November 2 to 30, 2020
Instructor:  Ann Coppinger
Caring for textiles demands an understanding of how and why they deteriorate. This course offers a simplified explanation of the origin and structure of textile fibers as well as the finished textile object; be it either a piece of whole cloth or a finished garment. Care of Textiles teaches students to identify fibers, fabric structures and finishes, write condition reports, and understand the agents of deterioration that are harmful to various fabrics both in storage on exhibit. Topics include preparing textiles for storage and exhibit, the use of archival materials with textiles, and three dimensional supports.
MS 218: Collection Inventories
November 2 to 30, 2020
Instructor:  Peggy Schaller
Collection inventories are vital to collection management and security. You need to know what is in your collection to be able to manage it well. This means regular inventories must occur. But knowing you must do them and actually having the time and manpower to complete an inventory are two different things.Collection Inventories discusses everything you ever wanted to know about collection inventories. From how to set one up to how to conduct an inventory. Other topics include what to look for during an inventory and how to reconcile the information.
November 2 to 30, 2020
Instructor:  John Veverka
Interpreting "the rest of the story", a powerful Interpretive communications technique for revealing and releasing the "rest of the stories" hidden in artifacts, objects, historical figures/events, landscapes, or sites through both live presentations and interpretive media text and label copy.  This course will help you utilize and blend the Paul Harvey Rest of the Story format with Tilden's Interpretive Principles. An interpretive technique marriage that can be embraced and used throughout your interpretive career.
Due to ongoing concerns over the Covid-19 Pandemic many of these Conferences may be cancelled or postponed this year.  Check each organization's website to verify dates.
Conferences and Meetings
Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Virtual Conference
September 28 - October 2, 2020
Oklahoma Museums Association, Enid, OK
September 16-18, 2020
Smithsonian Institution and Office of Protection Services
National Conference on Cultural Property Protection
Virtual Conference 
September 22-23, 2020 
American Association of State and Local History
Virtual Conference 
September 24-30, 2020
International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection
Virtual Conference 
October 8-14, 2020
Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums
Virtual Conference
October 5 - 16, 2020 
Southeastern Museums Conference, Louisville, KY
October 19-21, 2020
New England Museum Association, Newport, RI
November 18-20, 2020
National Association for Interpretation, Saint Augustine, FL
November 10-14, 2020
American Alliance of Museums, Chicago, IL
May 9-12, 2021
Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums, Archbold, OH  
National Association for Interpretation, Palm Springs, CA
November 3-December 4, 2021
American Alliance of Museums, Boston MA
May 19-22, 2022
National Association for Interpretation, Cleveland, OH
November 29-Decemver 3, 2022
American Alliance of Museums, Denver, CO
May 19-22, 2023

Submissions and Comments
How to submit an article or upcoming workshops for inclusion in the Newsletter:  
If you would like to submit an article, notice of an organizational meeting or upcoming workshop for an upcoming Collections Caretaker Newsletter, send your submission to peggy@collectioncare.org.  
We are always looking for contributions to this newsletter. Submission deadline is the 10th of each month. 
Have a comment or suggestion?   
Northern States Conservation Center (NSCC) provides training, collection care, preservation and conservation treatment services. NSCC offers online museum studies classes at  museumclasses.org in Collections Management & Care, Museum Administration & Management, Exhibit Practices and Museum Facilities Management.
Helen Alten, Director
Peggy Schaller, Publications Manager