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Storing Artwork: A Guide


Ibrahim_UK

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When I started collecting art and the pieces piled up, a concern of mine was what is the best way to store artwork safely.
Storing your art is vital to protecting them from damage, so here are some temporary and long-term options.
 
Portfolio Presenters
Think of these like photo albums for your artwork. These come in two options, a fixed and ring binder model.

Fixed Portfolio
The fixed portfolio presenter has bounded polyprop sleeves with black acid-free paper inserts.
So you can be at ease knowing the artwork will be safely stored within the sleeves.
They come in all sizes and are quite elegant, an ideal way to store and display your artwork.
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Binder Portfolio
The ring binder portfolio presenter is usually used by artists, as the name suggests, to present their art.
The ring mechanism allows the sleeves to be taken out, thus allowing the artwork's presentation.
The sleeves are usually not included when purchased, so you will need to get the right size sleeves separately.
They have a carry handle and strap to allow easy transporting.
This is a good option if you find yourself constantly moving and having to take your artwork/collection with you.
Whichever model you choose, your work will be safe and sound.
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Storage
Now the next step you need to consider is where you store your artwork.
Having them in the portfolio presenters is good, but what's next? Do you put them into the kitchen drawers 🙂
Some of these portfolio presenters are large, and you will struggle to find a drawer to hold them.
That is where the Archival Boxes come into play.

Archival Boxes
These solid and sturdy hinged boxes are excellent for storing loose artwork or portfolio presenters.
They are made from acid and chlorine-free archival paper; the boxes are of one-piece construction and open up flat, which is convenient.
Archival boxes offer an extra layer of protection for your artwork, so you can safely tuck them away in a dark cupboard.
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Plan Chest
Lastly, we have the Rolls Royce of storage options; it goes by many names due to its various uses, File/Map/Architects Plan Chest Drawers.
Whether you need storage for large artworks or even framed pieces, the plan chest is a great dedicated storage solution for your collection.
This is the go-to option for long-term storage in museums and galleries, which offers a secure permanent solution.
They usually are made in a large size with many features and materials.
Materials: Wood, Metal, Plastic
Build: Single tier, double tier, triple tier, etc
Features: Lockable drawers, Label holders, Drawer runners/rollers, castors/wheels

Each plan chest is different, as they are made for various purposes.
Some have tall drawers that allow framed artwork to be stored, while others do not.
You can buy brand new ones, custom-made to order, or even vintage/antique.
When buying second-hand Plan Chests, ensure you inspect it thoroughly.
You want to check for dampness, debris, dirt, or other possible contaminants that can harm your artwork.
So only buy second-hand if you are up to restoring it yourself or by a professional.
Whatever you choose, consider the size of these plan chests as they are large and heavy.
If you are going for the single tier, ensure they can fit through your door and say goodbye to your lower back.

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