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Preservation

Karen is skilled at undertaking Collection Surveys & Consultations as part of the preservation program. She can make recommendations on the storage environment and estimated costs for a preservation program of cleaning and boxing of collections. Please see the Box making section for examples of different types of protective housing.

Preservation of Parchment Deeds Collection
Background
A collection of 36 deeds (c.1280-1494) held by a London archive that were loosely housed in a large, off the shelf, archival box. Each deed was written in iron gall ink and many of them had wax or wafer seals attached with parchment strips that were vulnerable to damage in the large box .

Condition
The condition was generally very good apart from heavy soiling, a few had distorting creases to the parchment and a few minor tears.


Cleaning and Rehousing
Each deed was mechanically cleaned with smoke sponge and eraser. Only the most distorted deeds were humidified in a goretex damp pack to reduce the distortion. Small shaped strips of Bib Tengujo (12gsm) Japanese repair paper adhered with Shoufu paste (10%) used to consolidate minor tears. Deeds were carefully mounted onto Museum Board using Benchmark polyethene strapping to the left and right of each deed. The strapping was passed through slots in the mount board to be secured with tabs of Kozushi (23gsm) Japanese repair paper and Shoufu paste (10%). The soft strapping allowed for movement of the parchment deeds during periods of changed relative humidity in the storage area. Wax seals were individually mounted with shaped plastazoate each side of the seals  The mounted deed were divided by two plastazoate wedges to prevent abrasion when returned to four drop-back boxes constructed of Superior Millboard covered in Aberlave Library Buckram. Each box was off-gassed for 10 days to allow for any volatile components in the boxes to be released into the air before rehousing the deeds.


 

Parchment Deeds loosely housed
 

Deeds being mechanically cleaned and mounted

 
Mounted deed showing mounts for seals
 
Final rehousing in drop-back boxes

Observations
The Archivist was very pleased with the easy of handling and more protective storage of each deed created by this new housing system.

Collection Care Training
Karen has delivers in-house training for library and archive staff in basic preservation skills. Preservation training includes techniques to minimise damage to collections in the reading room and storage areas for staff and volunteers. See the Collection Care for Librarians section of the Training pages for further details.

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