How to Address Matting Issues in Your Collection
June 16 – 17, 2014 / Des Moines Art Center
This two-day workshop is designed to assist the collection care specialist with determining how
to approach difficult matting issues within their collections. Many museums have prints and works on
paper which were matted using non-archival techniques and subsequently have issues with residual
hinges and/or adhesives that complicate re-matting.
This workshop is designed to address these situations and to assist the museum professional with
determining whether he/she can safely remove the adhesive and hinges themselves or if the collection
item should be sent to the conservator.
This course is geared toward small museums that do not have conservators on staff and is limited to
10 participants, so the focus is hands-on learning.
Dr. Sheila Siegler, DIC, FIIC, MAIC
Dr. Siegler is a graduate of Camberwell College in London and is an Accredited Paper Conservator
in the United Kingdom. Before moving to America she worked for 10 years in the conservation
department at the Tate Gallery, London, and as a free-lance paper conservator for major museums
and government institutions. After moving to Omaha and becoming the Head of Paper Conservation at
the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, Dr. Siegler decided to concentrate her many talents
on teaching conservation science and now works as a free-lance paper conservator, lecturer, and
Monday, June 16, 2014
8:30 – 9:00 Welcome and Overview by Dr. Siegler and
R ose Wood, Chief Registrar of the Des Moines Art Center
9 – 11:30 am
Session 1 – Adhesives and Lab Safety
This session will consist of a PowerPoint on Lab Safety and hands-on experience in making adhesives.
Issues to address will include: wheat starch paste, parchment size, dextrin, rubber cement, methyl
cellulose, and heat-set tissue. The participants will make samples for afternoon testing on material
provided. The expected outcomes will be greater knowledge of safety in the work space, what makes
an effective adhesive, how adhesives work, what to look for in a “conservation” adhesive, how to deal
with some of the poor adhesives, and how to make conservation-safe adhesives.
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Lunch in courtyard (included in fee)
12:45 – 2:45 pm
Session 2 – Solvents and Tees Chart
This session will consist of a PowerPoint on common solvents and the Tees Chart. Issues to address
will include: calculating solvent mixtures on the Tees Chart and using Material Safety Data Sheets
(MSDS) and the Tees Chart to evaluate the effectiveness of solvent mixtures for different materials.
The expected outcomes will be familiarity with safety issues when using solvents, understanding the
different groups of solvents, the ability of placing solvents on the Tees Chart, the ability to calculate
solvent mixtures, and the ability to use the MSDS to determine whether a solvent is the best option for
2:45 – 3 pm
3 – 5 pm Session 3 – Adhesive Removal
The conservator will demonstrate both mechanical and chemical methods for removing adhesives.
Participants will gain experience by removing adhesives made in the morning session. The expected
outcomes will be knowledge of the common methods for adhesive removal, experience under the
guidance of a conservator to remove adhesives, and discussion with the group regarding adhesive
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
8:45 – 9 am Overview by Dr. Siegler
9 – 11:30 am Session 4 – Hinges
This session will consist of a demonstration of different hinging systems. The systems demonstrated
will include: T hinges, folded hinges, corner hinges using Mylar, and strap hinges. The conservator will
demonstrate use of Beva 371 film for difficult objects. Participants will have the experience of creating
these hinging systems with some of the adhesives from Monday’s morning session. The conservator
will additionally demonstrate how simple repairs such as broken corners and tears can be mended
using adhesives such as wheat starch paste, methyl cellulose, Japanese gum tape, and heat activated
tape. The expected outcomes will be knowledge of advanced matting techniques, hands-on experience
with simple repairs, and greater knowledge of using adhesives in the matting process.
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Lunch at Baru at the Art Center Restaurant (included in fee for set menu)
12:45 – 2:45 pm Session 5 – The Wet/Dry Interface and its importance in treating paper
This session will consist of removing hinges and backings. The systems demonstrated will include:
water removal, solvent removal, and board lamination removal. Participants will have hands-on
experience with removing hinges and backings as well as making simple repairs. The expected
outcomes will include: knowledge of the wet/dry interface and how that impacts a matting decision,
further demonstration of adhesives, hands-on experience of removing hinges and backings under
supervision, and how simple repairs will benefit the collection specialist in the matting process.
2:45 – 3 pm Coffee break
3 – 5 pm Session 6 – Real Matting Problems
Each participant is encouraged to bring “real” problems to the group for the last two hours of the
workshop. This can be actual objects or good photographs. The participants will divide into groups
and will be given time to examine and discuss the problems in their group using a structured work
sheet. Each small group will inform the whole group with their solutions to the problems they have
discussed. The expected outcomes include: the ability to assess a problem in a structured way,
the ability to apply the knowledge gained during the workshop to solve the problem, and a greater
understanding of when to ask for more assistance.
$275 / Des Moines Art Center facility and staff
$300 / Des Moines Art Center Members or Iowa Museum Association Members
$350 / General Workshop Fee
Each participant will be expected to bring: pens, pencils, a small ruler, calculator, apron/ lab coat,
examples (either actual objects or good photographs) of real matting challenges (a limit of three physical
objects per participant), magnifying glass, tweezers, and scalpels. Any questions regarding the exact
brands and amounts will be addressed after confirmed registration.
The Des Moines Art Center does not insure any objects brought for this workshop. Because the
workshop is conducted in a secure museum environment, each participant will need to log-in and
out all non-DMAC objects.
For more information, please contact Rose Wood, chief registrar at 515.271.0323 or via e-mail.
Deadline May 15, 2014 / Limit 10 participants.