Preserving Art and Memories: The Art of Conservation Picture Framing


Picture frames are not just decorative; they play a crucial role in preserving and protecting artworks, photographs, and memorabilia. It is the standard used by museums as it prioritises the longevity and well-being of precious items. SE1 Picture Frames are specialists in conservation and museum quality framing. 

The benefits of Conservation Framing:

  • Protection from Environmental Factors: Acidic materials can lead to discoloration, fading, and deterioration over time. Conservation framing involves using acid-free and archival materials to shield artworks from environmental elements.
  • Preventing Moisture Damage: Moisture is a significant threat to artworks, causing warping, mould growth, and deterioration. Conservation framing includes techniques including moisture absorbing materials to protect against moisture, ensuring humidity levels are constant.
  • UV Protection: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can cause fading and irreversible damage to artworks and photographs. Conservation framing incorporates UV-filtering glass or acrylic to minimize the harmful effects of sunlight and artificial lighting.
  • Handling Changes in Temperature: Fluctuations in temperature can lead to the expansion and contraction of materials, which may result in damage. Conservation framing takes these changes into account, utilizing techniques and materials that minimize the impact of temperature changes.
  • Reversibility: Conservation framing techniques protect artwork without causing any alterations. It is designed so future conservators can remove the artwork without causing any damage.

Techniques Used in Conservation Framing:

  • Hinging: Instead of using adhesives that may damage the artwork over time, conservation framing often involves hinging—attaching the artwork to the mat using acid-free tapes or hinges. This allows for the natural expansion and contraction of the paper without causing harm.
  • Spacers: Conservation framing may use spacers to keep the glass from directly touching the artwork. This helps prevent condensation and provides additional protection against environmental elements.
  • Moisture Absorbing Materials: Conversation framing often uses moisture absorbing materials, such as Artsorb. This helps to ensure the humidity level are constant.
  • Mounting Techniques: Artworks are mounted using methods that do not harm the piece. The best technique will depend on the artwork that is being framed. For delicate fabrics this would be hand stitching, whilst for others it may be stretching. This provides the best display options and allows for future re-framing without causing damage to the artwork.

The drawbacks of Conservation Framing

Although conservation framing has many benefits, the skill, time, and materials required does make it more expensive than traditional framing techniques. These factors mean it can also be difficult to find framers, such as SE1 Picture Frames, who specialise in it. However, it is important to always work with professionals for conversation framing as excessive measures can cause damage to the artwork. 


Conservation picture framing is not just a service for museums or art collectors; it's a practice that anyone with valuable artworks or cherished memories should consider. By investing in conservation framing, you are not only enhancing the visual appeal of your pieces but also ensuring that they withstand the test of time.

If you wish to preserve your art and memories with the care and attention they deserve contact SE1 Picture Frames to discuss your options with conservation framing.

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