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Objects Secured to a Removable Tray


In 2017, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened a new purpose built off-site facility called the David and Fela Shapell Family Collections, Conservation and Research Center. Our team was tasked with rehousing the 20,000 object collection to move from the original off-site storage facility to the new facility in four months. Four custom housing methods were developed to quickly stabilize the objects during the move as well as be utilized for continued storage, thus minimizing handling of the objects when needed for viewing.


Rebecca Beyth, Preventive Conservator
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place
Washington, DC 20024
202-488-0400 x 552362

Photo Credits: Rebecca Beyth, courtesy of USHMM


One method is to secure an object to a removable tray. Twill tape handles are attached to bottom of tray with hot-glue (or between Volara and corrugated board/ between two layers of board if that is needed for heavy objects) to be easily lifted from the box with minimal interference with the object. A tray can be lifted out of a standard box or slide out of a drop-front box. This method is useful for objects that are fragile and greatly minimizing handling.


Materials, Tools & Supplies

  • B-Flute Corrugated Board or Coroplast
  • Box Cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Volara
  • Hot-Melt Glue
  • Twill Tape
  • Ethafoam
  • Polyester Batting
  • Teflon Artifact Wrap



  1. Create custom box or use standard pre-made box to fit object with room for clearance.
  2. Measure inside of box.
  3. Cut corrugated board (or coroplast) to fit inside, with enough ease to allow for smooth removal of tray. Hot-glue twill tape handles to board (Fig. 1).

    Figure 1. Tray with Handles Glued

  4. Cut Volara if using for padding and place on board on the side with the handles glued to it (this way the handles are glued between the board and the Volara). Place object on Volara/board and mark where ties should be and remove object (Fig. 2). Cut slits in Volara where marked and mark board underneath. Remove Volara and hot-glue twill tape ties on the mark and thread through the slits in Volara (Fig. 3). Glue Volara to board. Allow glue to cool.

    Figure 2. Marking Where Slits in Volara Should Go

    Figure 3. Thread Twill Ties Through Slits in Volara

  5. Place object on Volara-padded board. Place Volara strips on the areas to be secured with ties (Fig. 4) to protect object and tie ties (Fig. 5).

    Figure 4. Volara Threaded Under Twill Ties

    Figure 5. Tied Ties

  6. If not using Volara, glue twill tape ties to board in appropriate places and put Volara on the areas to be secured with ties and tie ties.
  7. An additional security step (especially when not using Volara padding and/or to reduce the number of ties) is to use small ethafoam bumpers padded with Volara or Teflon wrap to smooth the surface on either end of an object to keep if from moving side to side. These can be hot glued to the tray (Fig. 6).

    Figure 6. Ethafoam Bumpers

  8. If there is concern that the tray will be able to move vertically in the box, you can make “rails” out of ethafoam or blue board and glued to the sides of the box bottom for drop-front boxes. The tray can be slid between the bottom of the box and the rails and it will prevent vertical movement (Fig.7).

    Figure 7: Completed Tray in Box

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