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Standard packing systems using plastic foils for museum and collections stores

Some years ago the Wagenburg (Collection of Carriages) of the KHM had the need to improve the storage conditions for objects kept in unfavourable metal cases in a historic building. Following the then known literature two sets of similar objects were packed in polyethylene (PE), ethyl vinyl alcohol (EVOH) and aluminium oxide coated plastic films, using partly anoxic conditions to prevent further corrosion and degradation. After observing the climatic conditions inside the packs and the changes on the objects themselves for about 1.5 years some unexpected results were gained especially for anoxic conditions. Therefore, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (KHM), the Essl Museum, the Wien Museum (Modesammlung Hetzendorf), the Institute for Restoration and Conservation of the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and the Österreichisches Forschungsinstitut für Chemie & Technik (ofi) felt the need for more in-depth investigations and tests for packing museum objects in plastic films, addressing the following topics:

  • further characterisation of the locally (Austria and Southern Germany) produced plastic films concerning the migration, the permeability, and the accumulation of air pollutants and pollutants released by the packed objects (e.g. pesticides) as well as long-term stability
  • enabling the well-directed selection of certain films (type, thickness, transparency, use of prepared packs, sealing systems) for different purposes (avoiding insect pests and dust, stabilising relative humidity, protecting objects from aggressive air pollutants, safeguard museum personnel against toxic compounds released by objects, anoxic treatment)
  • developing as cheap as possible and easy to maintain packing systems (maximum 5 different) and putting together a hand-out with guidelines for collection keepers
  • hands-on tests of selected packing solutions to test their suitability also for small collections (often without a trained restorer).

The results of the project were presented to an audience interested in conservation problems at two workshop at the KHM and have also been published.


M. Griesser, E. Gregor, M. Kurzel-Runtscheiner, U. Kannengiesser, E. Schlegel, M. Griesser-Stermscheg, S. Jahn, A. Hanzal, M. Ifsits, M. Krainz, “Development and in-depth testing of standard packing solutions for collections and museums”, in Preprints of the 15th ICOM-CC Triennal Meeting, New Delhi, 22nd-26th September 2008, Vol. II, 743-750

S. Kalabis, M. Griesser-Stermscheg, M. Griesser, M. Novotny-Kargl, ”Langzeitlagerung im unklimatisierten Museumsdepot: Die Verpackung von Metallobjekten in Kunststoff-Folien”, in: M. Griesser-Stermscheg, G. Krist (eds.), ”Metallkonservierung. Metallrestaurierung. Geschichte, Methode und Praxis” (2009) 79-90

M. Griesser, M. Krainz, J. Bergmair, S. Kalabis, M. Griesser-Stermscheg, M. Novotny-Kargl,
R. Knaller, A. Hanzal, J. Bailer, C. Jordan, W. Werther, E. R. Schmid, E. Schlegel, U. Kannengiesser, S. Jahn, E. Gregor, ”Entwicklung und Austestung von Standard-Kunststoff-Verpackungslösungen für Sammlungs- & Museumsdepots”, in: Technologische Studien Kunsthistorisches Museum. Konservierung – Restaurierung – Forschung – Technologie, Vol. 7 (2010) 10-71


DI Dr. Martina GRIESSER (technisch),
Dr. Monica KURZEL-RUNTSCHEINER (finanziell),
Dr. Paul FREY (Geschäftsführung)

Ernst GREGOR (Wagenburg), Dipl.-Rest. Michaela MORELLI (Wagenburg), Robert MARHOFER (Wagenburg), Mag. Christiane JORDAN (Museum für Völkerkunde)

Wien Museum – Modesammlung Hetzendorf, Essl Museum, Universität für angewandte Kunst – Sammlungen und Institut für Konservierung und Restaurierung, Österreichisches Forschungsinstitut für Chemie und Technik (ofi), Universität Wien – Institut für Analytische Chemie und Lebensmittelchemie

FFG Projekt Nr. 818182

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