7.2 Mountmaking

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What is Mountmaking?

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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

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

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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.

To join this group copy and paste the following address into your search engine. http://groups.google.com/group/mountmaking-forum Contact BJ Farrar with questions.

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.


Mountmaking in Print

Cover of JAIC 51:1 Special Mountmaking Issue

Publications

Articles and Links

  • PACCIN article by Jim Williams about how to make a shop-built vacuum press to make Vivak shoulder forms
  • STASH- Storage Techniques for Art, Science and History Collections. A useful resource to find or share solutions to storage mounting challenges.
  • Useful mounting solutions with rare earth magnets at the Asian Art Museum on San Francisco


How to Contribute to this Site


To contribute information on mountmaking on this page please contact Shelly Uhlir, the Mountmakers Forum's liaison to AIC's Collection Care Network.


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