Advice on caring for antique prints and maps from the British Antique Dealers' Association
Antique maps and prints
Traditionally, maps and art prints were purchased by dedicated collectors.
As a rule, those collectors stored their treasured collections in albums or purpose built cabinets.
This meant their collections were stored at a constant temperature and rarely exposed to direct sunlight.
The rising popularity of antique prints and maps means that many are now bought specifically to decorate the home.
Which has given rise to signicant issues for the care and conservation of maps and prints.
Framing antique prints
Where possible antique maps and prints should be backed and mounted with acid-free card.
BADA recommend using Museum Board as a mount, which is made of 100% cotton fibre.
Ultraviolet filtering glass can also be fitted to reduce the risk of damage from exposure to UV light.
It is important to avoid exposing prints and antique maps to direct sunlight.
This is particularly vital for prints and maps containing original colour.
Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can also affect both the paper and the media.
Avoid hanging prints and maps above a radiator, working fireplace or any other heat source.
Damp conditions should be avoided at all costs.
Never store prints or maps in a damp basement or an attic.
Any signs of damp, such as foxing, should be dealt with by a paper conservator immediately.
Foxing is the ugly brown staining which appears on prints and maps that have been exposed to high humidity.
For safe keeping, BADA recommended storing unframed maps and antique prints in archival wallets.
These can be sourced from a quality archive resources supplier such as Secol.