Conservation: A Practical Example

A friend of mine is working in Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. She recently told me about an interesting experience she had with some materials. She knows that I am an archivist in training so she told me the specifics of what she did. After I told her I wanted to publish it on my blog so she gave me specifics and pictures, below are her words about her experience.

“I was interested in binding a newspaper, Afn Shvil.  We have almost a complete run, since the 50s. However, this complete run has not been properly taken care of all these years, they’ve basically sat stuffed up in Princeton boxes for who-knows-how-long.

So I spoke to our archvist, Nadia. She had an idea: a “humidity chamber.” Basically, you take a large Rubbermaid style storage box, the kind you would use for storing out of season clothes in.  Nadia “outfitted” our storage chamber with a 3-tier cookie cooling rack (who knew?) and a bowl of distilled water at the bottom. First, we removed any staples from the paper (there were a lot of them!). Then we lay about 2-3 issues on each rack, and let it sit for a few days (3-5).  The lid of the container was left on. The humidity in the box helped relax and loosen up the fibers enough that the papers would be suitable for binding.

Now the irony is, after all that, we aren’t even sure if we’re going to bother binding this paper! But now the papers are laying flat in our periodicals  back room.”

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