Properly Storing Art

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Properly Storing Art



Have you ever seen an old photograph that has been ruined thanks to improper storage? That moment in time captured on film is, of course, irreplaceable. If a photograph becomes damaged, torn or faded to the point where it can no longer be enjoyed, that moment in time becomes lost forever.

Original paintings, prints, lithographs and other works of art, too, capture often irreplaceable moments or feelings. Leaving your artwork exposed to the elements and improperly stored can cause damage that is at best expensive to repair and at worst irreparable. In many cases, the damage occurs slowly over time and when the breach in storage is found, the damage has already been done.

As a business whose purpose includes storing valuable art pieces, such as museums, art schools and auction houses you are acutely aware of the great responsibility entrusted to your care and know the importance of safely storing art in the most efficient, reliable storage system available.

The pieces that you wish to store will determine the size and style of storage drawers or cabinets you should use. If you wish to protect double-sided art or documents, first consider encapsulating such pieces in acid-free polyester film. Doing so allows the item to be handled and viewed without risking inadvertent damage from the oils in your fingers. Matted works also can be encapsulated or, in the case of especially fragile documents, may have a hinged cover mat in place that can be opened to view the piece, but closes for protected storage. Such loose pieces, whether encapsulated or not, should be stored neatly in shallow drawers with sheets of acid-free paper between them.

Framed art pieces and documents are best stored vertically. If you’re storing items in a cabinet of some kind, foam or felt separators are recommended, but it is the preferred method to have some sort of hanging storage option for these pieces. Unfortunately, hanging storage can often take up space, especially when there is a strong need to easily view and access the stored works quickly.

Datum Storage Solutions has an answer. Datum’s ArtStor system provides an excellent storage solution for any type of artwork, photograph or document you may be responsible for storing. ArtStor provides vertical storage for pieces of virtually any size. The accordion-like nested track system allows easy perusal of the stored collection, while collapsing to reduce floor space up to 50% when closed up for storage. If security is a consideration, doors with an assortment of locking options are available with the system. Additionally, Datum offers a variety of cabinets and drawer systems for flat storage, all of which are designed to minimize floor space while maximizing protection for those valuable items.

Your local licensed Datum dealer will work with you to determine which storage solutions, or combination of solutions, will work best for you based on the type of materials you will be storing and the storage space you have available. Don’t compromise those irreplaceable items; let Datum Storage Solutions help design a system that will protect them and give you peace of mind.


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  • 89 Church Road, PO Box 355
  • Emigsville, PA 17318
  • p:800.828.8018
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