MOUNTING SYSTEMS FOR ETHNOGRAPHIC TEXTILES AND OBJECTS
Gail Sundstrom Niinimaa
Mountmaking is an important aspect of conservation as irreparable damage can occur to an object resulting from a poorly designed mount. At Glenbow the conservation department is extremely active in mountmaking as part of its “preventative conservation” role within the museum. Over the last five years in conjunction with in-house and travelling exhibitions, the Glenbow Museum has been developing mounting systems for ethnographic textiles and objects.
The following criteria have been used for a “good” mount:
- must support the object fully without causing stress or strain on the artifact;
- must use materials which are not toxic and will not react with the object;
- must not interfere with the aesthetic appearance of the artifact wherever possible.
As there can be conflict between conservation and aesthetics, a compromise must often be made among the conservator, designer, and curator.
In October, 1982, the exhibition “Quillwork of the Plains” was mounted for travel to six locations across Canada. It was this exhibition that sparked an interest in making individual mounts for the artifacts which would be used both for travel and exhibition. It was felt that if the artifacts were mounted onto small acid-free matboard supports that stayed with the object there would be less handling and consequently less damage to the pieces while on exhibition.
This paper will outline the various types of mounts that have been used in the travelling exhibitions “Quillwork of the Plains” and “Metis,” as well as for some of the in-house exhibitions, and will provide details on the mounts' construction. Materials will be discussed, as well as factors to consider when making mounts for objects.