Okay, so yeah, I used a claw hammer to bend back the tiny nails in the back of the frame, in order to release the backing plank... I wish I knew what these components were actually called. You know that there's technical jargon for everything.
Once the backing was free I carefully lifted it out and then the certificate and newspaper from the frame. These documents were too large to fit my flatbed scanner so I had to turn them sideways and scan each side in two halves.
Next, I got a microfiber cloth and some generic glass cleaner and scrubbed down the pane of glass. It wouldn't come free due to the tiny nails so I left it in and tried not to spray the wood frame too much.
(I don't know why Blogger rotates that jagged glass image 90 degrees clockwise. I didn't take the picture at that angle and I didn't rotate the image during editing. Blogger just won't upload it right-side-up.)
Then I got out these Pledge wipes for the frame. They're orange-scented but that's irrelevant: I wanted to nourish the wood a little and clean out some of the dirt. The wipes were filthy before long, and the wood looks a little better. I hope it does some good.
It's apparent from this photo that the frame has seen a couple coats of paint. Under the dark brown there's a layer of white, before you get down to the wood itself. If I knew more about painting wood I could tell whether the white stuff was actually a former color or if it's some old brand of primer. As it is, I have no idea, just wanted to document where it had chipped from the frame.
You can see my cat, Toki, guiding me through the process. (The bulk of his advice consists of informing me that he could do it better and warning me not to f*** up.)
And here's the finished product. I brought it out to the yard for atmosphere.