Framing Rare or Antique Maps for Long Term Protection

Original Pristine Map of Pacific Coast from 1606

Many collectors and dealers of antique maps seek our services in properly framing their maps or their client's purchase(s).  They know as a long term collector myself, it is my concern that their map is fully and attractively framed for many years of enjoyment.

But, when a buyer chooses to go to a big box arts and crafts store or, even a local frame shop, I cannot stress the importance in letting the framing department employee know how vital it is in using proper materials and techniques.  Otherwise, the map will be affected to the point of not only losing its original crispness, but also losing its value.

First, instruct the framing staff you want mounting strips, corners or other hinging techniques that won't permanently adhere to the map.  This includes common household tapes, moistening hinges, even generic framing tapes.  If the customer doesn't want polyester/mylar showing when the map is floating or has thin margins, then fully reversible tissue, that doesn't require moistening is fine.

For matting and backing, only 100% cotton rag material should be used.  And, don't believe the common term "acid free" as many framers claim.  Those mats are anything BUT!  Over a period of time, those mats will stain the map where the mat lay and can't be fixed.

Regarding backing, use 100% cotton rag backing AND acid free coroplast.  A layer of cotton rag backing adds protection and preserves the map for many years to come.

Finally, only use 99% UV filtered glazing, be it glass or acrylic.  Everyday, light from a variety of sources will come in contact with your framed map.  This glazing will protect it. But! also, keep the framed map out of direct sunlight.  A sunny room is fine as long as the path of the sun does not directly impact the map.

Over the years, people have contacted me with problems they have experienced with their framed map from framers not well versed in art preservation.  It's critical you let the framing business spell out how and what materials they will use in protecting your map.