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Thread: Creating aluminum/plastic vapor barrier

  1. #1

    Creating aluminum/plastic vapor barrier

    The state of Nebraska is opening a museum dedicate to the history of the Nebraska National Guard. We don't have a lot of funding dedicated to collections care as of yet. I have 2,008sq ft of wood shelving I need to seal. I was recently told it is possible to make Marvelseal. I am aware of which materials are safe, but I need to know the mechanics of how to actually do this. I was hoping someone could give me some specific directions. All instructions I have found are vegue. My plan is to seal the shelves then line them with a layer of polyethylene foam covered with muslin. If anyone has done this, I would certainly appreciate advice and pictures if possible.
    Thank you,


    Collections Manager
    Nebraska National Guard Historical Society Museum

  2. #2
    I also have some questions about creating a mounting board and securing delicate textiles to it. I was thinking the same method would work.

  3. #3
    Member JasonO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    See this:

    but it looks like the link doesn't work, so here is the updated one:

  4. #4
    PACCIN Advisory Committee Member T. Ashley McGrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Hey Jason, Thanks for sharing this link. At the PACCIN Prep Con 3 conference held last year at the Campbell Center we did a bunch of hands-on methods during our workshops on the second day. Strangely I had done a version of the CCI method of using aluminum foil and PE film to make "marvelseal" at home. Unfortunately while it worked perfectly at home the same materials (I mean exactly - because my sponsor - Ship Art International - shipped the exact same material from my home in the Bay Area to Illinois where I was surprised to find that it didn't work on site. As a result of this misadventure I would simply suggest that anyone who needs to store or display art or artifacts in safe conditions just buy a supply of "marvelseal" (which essentially means a material meeting standards outlined as "MIL-PRF-131K Class1"). If you shop online you can get a decent price on this product. If you have trouble give me a shout. The best source I have found for many years is a company based in Brooklyn about three blocks from where I lived for many years.
    Also There are some alternatives about how to make this material durable over the long term that might be more practical than the foam and muslin solution that you outline (although there is nothing wrong with that approach). Contact me directly for approaches outlined during the storage workshop from Prep Con 3. Unfortunately that session was not video taped.
    T. Ashley McGrew
    PACCIN Advisory Committee member

  5. #5
    Thank you for the information.
    Unfortunately, buying Marvelseal is not an option right now. The cost for the area we have would be over $4,400 and at the moment I have a budget of $500 to begin all accession, registration and preservation activities. We're basically starting from the begining with the museum in every way and everything has been marked, registered and treated very poorly in its previous location, and that amount of money isn't going to go far.
    I'm trying to prioritize what should be done first. My thought was to start with the environment and work our way down to individual items since it would give the greatest benefit to the most objects. The collections room is climate controlled so we can set objects open on the shelves until we can afford proper individual storage boxes.
    We won't be attempting to be accredited for a very long time, and by then, we might be able to afford Marvelseal. Right now, my concern is preservation.
    On what kind of surface did you adhere the homemade Marvelseal to? We have unfinished wood shelves.
    I would appreciate any information you gathered from the PACCIN Prep Con 3 conference. Especially alternatives to the foam/muslin.

    Thank you for your help,

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