- 1 What is Mountmaking?
- 2 About the Mountmakers Forum
- 3 Mountmaking in Print
- 4 How to Contribute to this Site
What is Mountmaking?
Mountmaking is the process of designing, fabricating and installing the structures (called mounts, brackets or armatures) that safely support collections objects and artifacts while they are on exhibit. Working with a variety of conservation-approved metals, plastics and foams to create a custom armature for each object, a mountmaker must find a way to safely support the object within the vision of curators, designers and art directors. Mountmakers work closely with conservators to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each object and to find safe fabrication materials. The goal is to minimize damage to the artifacts both while on display and during the object handling required to make mounts.
Why is mountmaking important?
A well considered, thoughtfully designed, safely constructed, appropriately supporting mount is a form of preventative conservation for a museum object while under the stresses of exhibition display. A good mount can help show an object to its best advantage, enhancing the visitor's experience.
Mountmaking skills & training
While there are a few workshops and seminars to gain basic skills, real mountmaking expertise comes with attention and practice and curiosity, best done in an apprentice-like setting. If you are very interested in learning the ropes, find out who has made some mounts that you find successful and contact them!
Here are a few places to check for upcoming workshops and seminars on mountmaking. Inclusion here does not imply recommendation:
If you know of a training that should be added to this list, please see "How to Contribute" below.
Mountmaking tools and materials
- Here is a Mountmaking Tool and Material List with a few suggestions and ideas on where to purchase them.
- Mountmaking Supply Handout from Bob Fuglestad's workshop at PACCIN's first Preparators Conference in August 2009
- A few of Benchmark's favorite tools
- Link to AIC's wiki Oddy Tests: Materials Database
Have ideas for other useful tools or simply want to share your favorite? contact Shelly Uhlir and we'll add them to the list:
About the Mountmakers Forum
Who we are
Bringing together museum professionals from across the globe, the Mountmaking Forum was created to exchange knowledge and ideas regarding all aspects of mountmaking.
Mountmakers Forum online community
The group maintains a Google Group forum to discuss mountmaking issues. It is open to mountmakers and anyone interested in mountmaking issues.
International Mountmakers Forum Conference
The Mountmakers Forum sponsors a biennial conference held at different host institutions.
For information on past and future Fora see below.
- 6th International Mountmakers Forum, September 25-27, 2018, Natural History Museum, London
- 5th International Mountmakers Forum, May 4-5, 2016, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
- International Mountmakers Forum UK Kick-Start Meeting, April 15, 2015, Natural History Museum, London
- 4th International Mountmakers Forum, May 14-15, 2014, New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe, NM
- 3rd International Mountmakers Forum, April 26-27, 2012, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL
- 2nd International Mountmakers Forum, May 5-6, 2010, National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
- 1st International Mountmakers Forum, March 28, 2008, The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, CA
Mountmaking in Print
- The Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, Volume 51, Number 1 (Spring/Summer 2012) is a Special Mountmaking Issue including papers from the 1st and 2nd International Mountmakers Forum.
- Table of Contents - Cynthia Amneus and Marla Miles A Method for Invisibly Mounting Costume Using Fosshape - BJ Farrar Improved Mounting System for an Ancient Bronze Torso of a Youth - Susanne Gansicke, Pamela Hatchfield, Jean Louis Lachevre, Craig Uram, Dante Vallance New Mounting Systems Provide Mobility for Two Ancient Objects at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Jamie Hascall Receiver Systems for Object Mounts: A Design Concept for Safe Installation and Display Flexibility - Deanna Hovey Simple and Invisible Solutions Using Rare Earth Disc Magnets in Mountmaking - McKenzie Lowry Exploring Process and Design for Visually Unobtrusive Object Mounts - Mark Mitton and Adrienne Pamp Cast Bronze Mounts for Temporary Exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum - Luba Dovgan Nurse A Support Mount Made from Nomex Card for Storage and Three-Dimensional Display of an Incomplete and Fragile 19th Century Straw Bonnet - Jonathan Pressler Mount Challenges and Solutions for Native Alaskan Objects for a Study Collection in an Earthquake Zone - Shelly Uhlir Mounting Multiple-Piece Ensembles for an Exhibit of Plains, Plateau and Great Basin Attire at the National Museum of the American Indian
- Mount-making for Museum Objects (2nd ed) by Robert Barclay, André Bergeron, and Carole Dignard (Illustrations by Carl Schlichting)
- Advances in the Protection of Museum Collections from Earthquake Damage: Papers from a Symposium Held at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Villa on May 3–4, 2006
Articles and Links
- Wikipedia entry on Mountmaking
- Objects conservation discussion on the use of rare earth magnets
- PACCIN article by Jim Williams about how to make a shop-built vacuum press to make Vivak shoulder forms
- Conversations about Fosshape on the PACCIN site
- STASH- Storage Techniques for Art, Science and History Collections. A useful resource to find or share solutions to storage mounting challenges.
- OSG wiki site about mounting and display
- Useful mounting solutions with rare earth magnets at the Asian Art Museum on San Francisco
How to Contribute to this Site