What Does Archival-Quality Mean?

Montreal Fine Arts Museum

When you’re exploring your options for picture framing and art hanging, you’ll encounter a variety of terms. One of the ones you’ll see most often is “archival quality”. What does this mean, and what are your other options for preservation?

What Does Archival-Quality Mean in Framing?

Framing that is done to an archival standard is done with the full lifespan of the painting, photograph, or artwork in mind. Instead of looking for the most affordable or temporary solution, archival quality is meant to perfectly preserve the framed piece for as long as possible.

What Is Different About Archival-Quality?

When thinking about the long-term well-being of a piece of artwork, you must consider a variety of factors that you might not otherwise. For example, choosing the wrong tape can introduce acid into the photograph or artwork over the decades. Traditional tape designed for gift-wrapping or temporarily holding things together is not designed with light exposure and archival preservation in mind. That’s why archival quality framing will use special archival tape.

In addition to special tape, special boards will also be used. Some people wrongly assume that acid-free mats and papers are the same as archival quality, but that is not the case. Acid-free paper or cardstock is confirmed to be neutral when it is made. That does not mean it will not become acidic over time. That’s why archival quality matters.

When framing pieces using archival quality standards, a small gap will be placed between the artwork and the glass. This is a safeguard for humid conditions, as moisture will not run the risk of fusing the artwork to the glass itself. The glass used should also filter out ultraviolet rays that can lead to degradation and premature fading.

Does Archival-Quality Matter?

Archival quality is the gold standard in framing, but it isn’t right for every project. We can work with you to determine what type of framing is best for your needs. If you have an easily reproducible photograph that you are not attached to, opting for archival preservation is not necessary. However, a one-of-a-kind family memento is worth the extra effort.

Take Great Care of Your Artwork and Mementos! Partner with The Chessler Company Instead

Whether you want to frame a priceless family heirloom or a simple family photograph, you need to work with the right partner. Family owned and operated since 1959, The Chessler Company specializes in providing expert style art and picture framing services to anyone in need of a quality framing provider. To learn more about our framing and hanging services, call us at (410) 358-5161, and let us help you decorate your home or business!