Guideline 11.3

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The following Standards and Guidelines are a work in progress intended to spur discussion between exhibit personnel, conservators and other museum professionals. Please check back in the future as information is added to expand on the Guidelines without currently active links.
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Guideline 11.3: Object-safe materials are used to construct mounts

Why is it essential to use object-safe materials to construct mounts?

Object mounts come into direct contact with an object and therefore should be made from chemically-stable and non-abrasive materials. Even when an object is only on short-term exhibit, its mount is commonly retained for the object’s long-term storage. Therefore even for short-term exhibits, a mount should be constructed from tested and stable materials that will not deteriorate over time or expose the object to off-gassing.

What materials can be used to construct object-safe mounts?

Rigid acrylic or polycarbonate, brass rod and straps, high-density polyethylene foam, conservation-grade paper products or textiles are appropriate for conservation use.

  • Metal mounts (and other reactive materials) must always be covered with an inert fabric or foam or coated with a barrier such as an acrylic resin or silicon rubber to prevent reactions between an object and the metal. Cushioning material may also be used to provide a smooth contact surface, and it may be required to pad the object.


  • Padding and cushioning materials: Only use high-quality padding and cushioning materials, such as polyethylene foam, polyester batting and felted material, 100% cotton fabrics, and acid-free buffered tissue paper.


  • Mannequins and forms that support garments must be made from inert materials, such as polyester batting or polyethylene foam. As an alternative, use cotton fabric to buffer the textile from direct contact with material of unidentified composition, such as sealed wood and certain foams.


[For more information on object-safe materials see Materials Standard*.]