View Full Version : Museum Vs Conservation Mat Board

27-Jul-2015, 09:36
After having used-up my stock of Archival Methods 4-ply Museum board I started on my stock of 4-ply Archival Methods conservation board that I had (might as well as use it since I already paid for it). No I'm out of both and need to reorder. My past preference has been for Museum Board which is why I never used the Conservation Board until now. While it doesn't “feel” as good as the Museum Board, I came to prefer the “pearl” coloration of the Conservation Board over the Museum. How do the archival qualities of conservation board compare with those of Museum Board? From the Archival Methods website:

Features: Conservation Board uses alpha-cellulose pulp from purified wood fiber and is therefore more economical to manufacture than cotton Museum Board, yet carries with it the same stable and long-lasting properties. Purified wood pulp paper has a long history of being safe to use with paper artwork, photographs and documents. Our high quality Conservation Board is acid- and lignin-free, and incorporates alkaline or neutral sizing. All boards are buffered with calcium carbonate. This ensures protection from the destructive effects of acid migration from the matted work and from a polluted environment that might cause the pH of the mat board to decrease (become more acidic) with age. No optical brightening agents are used in the manufacture of our Conservation Board.

Conservation Board uses alpha-cellulose pulp from purified wood fiber
2-Ply / 30 Pt. (Approximately 1/32’’)
4-Ply / 60 Pt. (Approximately 1/16’’)
Alkaline sizing is used for both internal and external sizing. No alum is used in the manufacturing process.
Buffered with calcium carbonate 2-3% alkaline reserve, pH 9 ±0.5, acid–free.
Color dyes are light-fast and non-bleeding.
Board will not degrade and cause harm to mounted matted artwork.
Lignin content is tested by TAPPI 236 cm-85 and has a Kappa number of less than five.
The single ply sheets are laminated together using all natural starch adhesive.
Board passes the PAT (Photographic Activity Test) ISO 14523 (formerly ANSI IT9.16).


27-Jul-2015, 10:53
I prefer buffered conservation board. When I've used 100% rag museum board, it's attracted little bugs. The buffered board is also somewhat cheaper. Just make sure you're not using a process that's damaged by the alkaline buffering.

Drew Wiley
27-Jul-2015, 11:11
They also cut differently. I use Rising museum board for both mount and overmat of fiber-based black and white prints. I don't think the difference from conservaton board is a big deal unless you are dealing with something alkaline sensitive, like albumen or dye transfer prints. True museum board just feels more elegant. A down side of museum board is that is can differ a bit in thickness from side to side and affect matcutter settings. Color prints are a different subject. I mount those on something very smooth and hard, then typically overmat with Alphamat.

Bruce Barlow
27-Jul-2015, 12:07
"True museum board just feels more elegant."

I try not to let the proletariat put their grubby, sweaty, oily fingers on my prints. Elegant feel ceases to be a consideration.

That said, I also found a Conservation board with a color I prefer. I keep a machete handy for misbehaving fingers.

Drew Wiley
27-Jul-2015, 12:15
I've always been more paranoid of someone leaning over a print and slobbering on it. But in terms of "feel" I was referring more to visual. Museum board just
looks different, softer and more luxurious perhaps, less cardboardy.

3-Aug-2015, 04:20

Conservation framing using Bainbridge Artcare boards gives more protection to your images than anything on the market at this time. Rag or wood pulp based, the matboard works well and is clean when cut.

Drew Wiley
3-Aug-2015, 09:53
It's not that simple. Different print media often need slightly different kinds of treatment. Artcare is buffered and leaves sharp edges when cut, which need to
be relieved a tad with a burnishing bone. It also has a different look than museum board. I use both, depending.

3-Aug-2015, 17:33

Bainbridge Alpharag Artcare also offers some UNbuffered board.

Yes, clean and sharp edges which can be softened if you want.