What is Archival Framing?

five pieces of art in ornate gold frames hanging in a museum

When you come into possession of original fine art or an heirloom family photograph, the method of preserving its value is referred to as archival framing, also known as preservation framing or conservation framing. In this process, museum-quality materials are used to protect your delicate artwork or photograph from environmental or airborne damage. Without proper archival framing, there are a variety of harmful factors like exposure to UV rays that lead to costly, sometimes irreversible, damage to your print like dark spots or brittle, yellowed edges.

Life-Proof Your Artwork

Sun exposure, moisture, dust, bugs, or even a cheap frame can be ruinous to artwork or photographs. This is because non-archival framing methods often use acidic materials that come into contact with the print. As time passes and your print absorbs acids, it may escalate aging or discoloration to a level where archival framing cannot help. UV rays from exposure to sunlight are particularly destructive because they cause the color in photographs and artwork to rapidly fade. Preservation framing uses the highest quality materials and true craftsmanship to protect your precious piece from damage. 


Don’t underestimate the effects of the passage of time. Life can be unpredictable, and you don’t want your framed mementos to be ruined because of something that could have been prevented. Taking proactive measures for your piece of artwork or valuable photograph is the best way to guarantee it lasts a lifetime. There are many types of artwork and prints that justify high-grade conservation framing.

Ideal For Archival Framing

  • An original piece of fine art
  • Valuable watercolor
  • Antique photographs
  • Rare documents
  • Collectible prints
  • Historical newspaper clippings

How It Works

Archival framing requires the correct materials that protect without causing harm to your special print. UV glass is extremely important because it has a special coating that can block 99% of damaging ultraviolet rays. Acid-free mats and backing boards are used because they do not harm your special artwork or photograph like wood-pulp paper commonly found in cheaper frames. The acid in wood-pulp paper breaks down the structure of your print’s original paper. While frames that use wood-pulp paper are cheap, you are sacrificing the quality and safety of your artwork preservation. Preservation framing is the truest way to extend the lifetime of your framed belongings in a safe, expert way. 

Let Your Memories Live Forever

Your prized art and treasured relics deserve museum-quality framing worthy of their value. Contact us to talk to our framing experts for guidance on a particular photograph or piece of art that you believe could benefit from conservation framing. FrameStore offers custom archival framing for delicate fine art, antique photographs, printed mementos, and more. Check out our art framing education resources to learn more about the dos and don’ts of artwork preservation, and more about the archival framing process. Visit our Art Framing FAQs for common questions regarding the process and benefits of museum-quality art framing. 

Get 50% off your first framing service from our nearest FrameStore location and preserve life’s beautiful memories. 

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