Caring for Your Movie Posters

Your movie poster is a piece of motion picture history and should be afforded the same care and respect that any historical artifact might be given.

The three major destabilizing and destructive elements associated with these paper products are:

  • Direct Sunlight - Always keep your posters out of direct sunlight, as these UV rays will fade the printing inks used in their manufacture. When framing a poster, always try to use archival or museum mounting elements such as U-V -resistant plexi-glass and acid- free mounting boards and mattes.
  • Moisture - Always try to keep your posters from any contact with water or moisture such as extreme humidity. Moisture will not only stain and mildew your poster, but it will also deteriorate the elements used in its manufacture.
  • Heat - Always avoid storing or displaying posters in overly hot environments, as these elements will make the paper fibers brittle and will darken them making your posters brown in the process.

In caring for your movie posters, there are various handling and storage techniques to that should be used.

  • Folded Posters - For any folded poster, the folding and unfolding should be avoided, as that will eventually weaken the paper fibers and cause separation and tearing. For the post-1960s glossy stock posters, the folding is especially harmful, as the color will flake and fall off on from the fold lines with excessive handling. If a poster is rolled or has never been folded, under no circumstances should it be folded. It is best to store all posters unfolded and flat.
  • Linen Backed Posters - Any poster that has been restored by mounting it on archival linen should be stored flat. The rolling and unrolling will eventually cause wear on the poster.
  • Paper Backed Posters - Any poster that has been restored by mounting on Japanese or archival paper should be stored flat, as the rolling and unrolling will cause the fold lines to reappear in the paper.

By all means, when having a poster framed, take the poster to a knowledgeable framer who has experience in archival museum mounting and framing. Never let a framer heat mount, or adhesive mount your poster to flatten it! Anything done to frame the poster must always be reversible with no damaging effects.

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