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Poor Art and Antique Storage Often Results in Damage! Tips on How to Save Your Art from Terrible Damage!

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LOTS of art galleries, auctions and packers believe that glassine release paper doesn’t stick to art. Well, we see it happen all the time especially  when exposed to high heat and humidity (like in a closed truck or storage unit). Obviously, there are ways to avoid this disaster (and resulting fine art insurance claim). Storing artwork in a proper facility is part of the equation. Wrapping it correctly is another part. Proper handling is important. BTW, If this does happen to your art, we can “fix” it for you and help you process the insurance claim.

It is very important to use correct methods and techniques when moving and storing paintings or artwork. Larger scale artwork may be more difficult to transport or store than smaller pieces. In some cases, such as the one illustrated in this photo, poor transportation of a canvas can easily damage the artwork. This acrylic painting’s dimensions are 103×75 inches, not an easy canvas to move for untrained persons.

Many times, damage due to improper packing and storage can be attributed to a lack of common sense. Hire someone who is half-way smart to help you.  For example, some clients damage pieces when they stack a heavy box on top of fragile items. However, not all potential damage is as easily avoided, and when tricky situations arise sometimes you need an expert opinion.  When help is required packing home items, we have found that businesses such as The UPS Store give great advice. Although it may cost more effort and money to safeguard your valuables when packing, moving, and storing, it is less expensive than restoration.  Keep in mind that extra padding on all sides of a packing box is a cheap alternative to repair and loss of value.

If your items have financial value, the damage may impact or lessen the value (insurance term is “loss of value”) depending on the type of item, the amount of damage, the ultimate success of the repair and how “picky” the market is for repaired items.

Here are some helpful tips for storing larger paintings

  1. Pack it correctly. Tape a printed photo of the art on the outside of the box and cover photo with see-through plastic. DO NOT write down title, artist, value etc if the item is of value.
  2. If several individual items are stored in a box, take a picture of the art, and tape it to the outside of the box and cover photo with see-through plastic..
  3. Use sheets of cardboard to protect the art (cardboard can be purchased from moving supply stores). Don’t let cardboard touch fabrics or paper items.
  4. Elevate your valuables off the ground using wood palettes (this will help lower the risk of water damage). If you were doing it like the pros you’d probably have foam blocks to use.
  5. Do not store art, especially unprotected,  in high traffic areas! Duh…
  6. Use construction grade plastic, found in rolls, to drape over art if stored in dusty areas or where it may possibly get wet. (Don’t store art where water may leak…)
  7. Don’t store art in high humidity prone areas.
  8. Don’t store art in high heat areas/locations
  9. Watch out for pests…

Although it is important to take extra precautions when packing and moving, it is another discussion for items on display in your home that can be destroyed by various disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes… and grandkids! We recommend using Museum Wax, which is an anchoring adhesive that can help you avoid damage to collectibles when a building starts to shake.  It secures valuable items to the wall, shelves, tables, and more, which means less falling and breaking for art collectors.   Once this client’s decorative plate is restored to its previous perfection, she can further protect it for further generations by protecting it with Museum Wax.

The lesson to be learned is that this kind of damage could occur in a minute when precautions are not taken during a move or when thinking ahead about earthquakes and hurricanes.

Questions about conservation/restoration? Call us toll free at 888-704-7757 or

Questions about working with an insurance claim? Call us toll free at 888-704-7757

7 Responses to "Poor Art and Antique Storage Often Results in Damage! Tips on How to Save Your Art from Terrible Damage!"
  1. Hey thanks for the lead on museum wax! I’ve recently acquired some new artwork and was researching how to get it insured when I came across your blog…never even realized I could take physical steps to protect the artwork. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Lee Parthew says:

    Proper storage is very important for the artwork. Your articles always gives good advise. Thank you very much.

  3. Shubham says:

    Placing your art in a safe place is very important otherwise all your hard work can be spoiled.

  4. Shahid Khan says:

    Yes.. We Should Your Prevent Our Arts From These Types Of Terrible Damages For Sure 🙂

  5. this kind of damage could occur in a minute when precautions are not taken during a move or when thinking ahead about earthquakes and hurricanes.

  6. I am not really an art enthusiast but I do like doing arts and crafts with my family during the weekends and whenever we have any spare time. Such interactive activities help to bond the family closer together and help in the development of creativity in children, so we strongly encourage them. As for the storage of our masterpieces, we simply stack them up according to size and material (paper, canvas etc) and lock them in waterproof plastic tubs. They help to keep the mould and dust out which is good enough for us.

  7. Even though art might just be a pastime hobby for some of us, it is still important to ensure you provide a proper storage area for your masterpieces. Else, all that hard work might just go to waste should the artworks get in contact with moisture or other air pollutants. Storing them properly would mean you will have even a longer period of time to admire your works.

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