Author Topic: The use of Styrafoam Heads for exhibits  (Read 1777 times)

Offline Rakkasan187

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The use of Styrafoam Heads for exhibits
« on: June 10, 2016, 08:58:07 AM »
Wanted to post this information here for all to consider..

I know a lot of collectors like to use Styrofoam heads, (myself included) to display headgear and such. Personally I only use the heads for Short Term exhibits, not lasting more than a day or two, then the headgear goes back into storage.

Long term exhibiting, it is preferred to use something such as glass, which again has issues, weight, expense, ect, but is a clean surface that will not off gas and cause chemical reactions with leather, cloth, metal...

So here is some handy information for you all, and just FYI...

Reference the use of Styrofoam..

The material does "off gas" after a period of time and those gases can mix with the other elements that are on the head, cloth, leather, metal, whatever and then they can also start to degrade..

The chemical decomposition is far too complicated to explain and I don't have a background in chemistry to try to explain the off gassing process but it is necessary to take precautions and preventative measures to ensure long lasting artifacts.

This again coming from a museum perspective there are so many variables that have to be considered, weather, climate, temperature, humidity, can all speed or slow the off gassing process.

To take a preventive measure if you are still wanting to use Styrofoam, then a nylon stocking can place a barrier between the artifact and the head. They also look good with the white Styrofoam being covered up. 

Muslin cloth can also be used to place a barrier between the artifacts, or a 100% cotton shirt can also be used..

These are just some of the insider tips that we use in the museum field. We try to avoid those items that can cause damage over the long term, and the museum preservationists are always keeping us informed as to the latest in conservation techniques..

I am more than happy to share this information with everyone..

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Offline Tom E. Gunn

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Re: The use of Styrafoam Heads for exhibits
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2016, 10:08:08 AM »
I hear ya Leigh!!  ;)
"He who dares, wins!"

Offline littlebuddy

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Re: The use of Styrafoam Heads for exhibits
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2016, 10:39:44 AM »
I have my "heads"covered with wool stockings  :)

2018 and STILL WANTED! a pair of RAF 1940 Patt boots and RAF life vest
Always looking for quality condition USAAF stationary,ephemera,equipment and clothing.
Starting to look for the harder to find items e.g. survival kits and items also woukd like to add a complete "Gibson Girl " set up
We are here for the collectors, not for profit. (PERIOD!)