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Conserving Your Diploma

  1. What is the difference between archival or museum mat board and standard mat board?
  2. Are there any special considerations in hanging my diploma frame?
  3. Why is the backing board so important?
  4. How do I attach my diploma to the backing board?
  5. Why should I frame my diploma?


  1. What is the difference between archival or museum mat board and standard mat board?

    Archival or museum mat boards and backing are acid-free and lignin-free in order to protect your document from damage and deterioration.  These materials are also referred to as “conservation quality” and they meet stringent Library of Congress standards for document preservation.  Standard mat board is buffered to a neutral pH, so it is referred to as “acid-free,” although the material is not inherently pH neutral and will gradually change pH over time. In framing any valuable document or diploma, it is critical to avoid any acidic exposure because acids eat away at the cellulose in your document, causing your paper to turn yellow and become brittle.
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  2. Are there any special considerations in hanging my diploma frame?

    It is best to hang your diploma away from direct sunlight, in a location that is dry and free from dramatic temperature shifts.  Exposure to direct sunlight speeds up oxidation, which can lead to the gradual bleaching or discoloration of the document paper.  Dramatic temperature shifts can also lead to the deterioration of your document as well since paper fibers expand in humid climates and contact in dry temperatures. You do not want to store your diploma is a damp basement or in a high-humidity location because such conditions can promote mold growth on your document.  The ideal condition for your framed document would be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50 percent humidity.
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  3. Why is the backing board so important?

    You should choose a frame made with archival quality backing board to assure the safe and long-term preservation of your document or photo.  Corrugated cardboard, pressed wood or fiber board, and other products that are not proven to be archival quality will cause discoloration and brittleness to occur over time.  When improper backing materials are used, the document typically turns yellow, exhibits cracking or brittleness to the touch, and may even develop striation marks that match the pattern in corrugated board.  To reverse or reduce such damage, you should contact an experienced Conservator.  For more information on these services, contact the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) at (202) 452-9545 for a referral.  You may also visit www.pmai.org for valuable links and references courtesy of the Professional Picture Framers Association.
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  4. How do I attach my diploma to the backing board?

    We provide archival quality mounting materials with most of our diploma frames.  These materials are considered archival because they are tested and proven to be completely reversible and safe for use in direct contact with valuable documents and artwork. Each frame comes with a step-by-step instruction brochure to illustrate how to use these materials and frame your document easily.  You always want to avoid using masking, scotch, or duct tape, glue, paperclips or staples.  These can damage your document permanently.
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  5. Why should I frame my diploma?

    Since paper is a fragile material, over time, it can become dented, torn, dirty or otherwise damaged if not carefully protected from handling and environmental risks.  Paper is also susceptible to developing mildew stains, insect holes, scratches and taking on a dingy appearance. Matting and framing a diploma, which you have worked so hard for, is a perfect opportunity to professionally present this milestone accomplishment and reinforce the quality of one's educational institution.
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