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Vapor Permeable Covers for Storage Units


The curtain system provides a dust and light barrier for objects stored on open shelves, and helps protect them against smoke or water damage. This type of barrier is permeable to water vapor, thus materials may be kept at ambient relative humidity. In addition, it is resistant to bacterial and mold growth. This protective curtain system may be used to store objects on open shelving in an environmentally controlled room. The system provides good visibility and the curtain can be drawn to one side for easy retrieval of the objects from the shelves (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Vapor permeable curtain attached to shelving unit by rings on a brass rod.


Margaret A. Fikioris
Conservation Consultant
3 Hillspur Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348 USA
Tel: (215) 444-5621.

Illustration: Karen Ackoff

Publication: 1992


Storage shelving is covered with a curtain of a polytetrafluoroethylene/ polyester nonwoven laminate. This material is non-flammable and it does not support combustion. Its melting point is around 350˚C and above (W. L. Gore and Associates, Inc., personal communication). Panels are attached to shelving at the top by means of clip-on rings suspended from a brass rod.

Materials Tools Supplies

  • Brass curtain rods, brackets and rings
  • Hook and loop material
  • Magnetic strips
  • Polyethylene sheeting
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene/polyester nonwoven laminate


  1. Measure the height of the shelving; cut sections of the material to cover the shelving from top to bottom.
  2. Attach panels of material to the shelving at the top by means of rings on a brass rod. The rings may be sewn or clip-on.
  3. An additional covering of polyethylene sheeting may be placed over the gap between the shelving unit and the rod to fully protect the objects within.

Alternate methods of attachment

Other methods of attachment include hook and loop tape, a brass rod passing through a pocket folded and stitched at the upper end of the panel, or magnetic strips.

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