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Objects Secured in Box with Shaped Bumpers


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 with a removable bumper. The pressure of the box lid on the padded bumper (which is shaped to fit the object) keeps the object from moving around. Additionally, small ethafoam stops (padded with batting and smoothed with Teflon artifact wrap) are placed at the ends or sides of an object to keep the object from moving around in other directions and to support areas of the object that need additional support. This method was often used when there were many component parts of an object and when an object was made so that it was difficult to tie down.


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. Glue Volara to bottom of the box for cushion
  3. Decide if bumpers are needed to prevent the object moving side to side or if cavities/additional support are needed in vulnerable areas. Carve ethafaom to proper shape and size. Cover with Teflon tape (pad with batting if needed) to create a smooth surface. Glue bumpers to box bottom (Fig. 1-3).

    Figure 1. Shaped Bumpers

    Figure 2. Shaped Bumpers

    Figure 3. Shaped Bumpers

  4. Cut a block of ethafoam to the same height of the interior walls of the box and the interior width, so that it does not stick out of the box when resting on the bottom of the box (Fig. 4). This way the box top will “hold” the bumper in place.

    Figure 4: Ethafoam Block in Box

  5. Cut a cavity in the block to fit over the object (Fig. 5)- you want a barely there clearance with the object. Pad the cavity slightly with padding and cover with Teflon wrap (Fig. 6).

    Figure 5: Cavity in Ethafoam Block

    Figure 6: Cavity Padded and Covered with Teflon Wrap

  6. Place ethafoam bumper over object in correct position and close box (Fig 7-8). The pressure from the box top will hold the bumper (and therefore the object) in place.

    Figure 7: Ethafoam Bumper Over Object

    Figure 8: Ethafoam Bumper Over Object

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