Document Conservation: Today’s challenge

In 2019, NEDCC [Northeast Document Conservation Center] worked on the conservation of the State of South Carolina’s seven Constitutions. They also worked to conserve a certified copy of the 1790 Constitution.

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History was concerned with prior restoration techniques.  Were they affecting some of the State’s most important documents? Some were parchment, some paper. Each needed to be treated differently. Add the complex history of Barrow Lamination in libraries and archives. This would be a real challenge. A true Catch 22.

Preservation Catch 22

In Part I The Preservation Catch 22: A history of the South Carolina documents. Learn the challenges of long term preservation. What is the process of lamination? of historical documents?  What is the Barrow Lamination process?  Exposed is the catch 22 of the past process. How to keep documents from disintegrating but needing to reverse the process. Pictures take you through the process.

Devoured When Mold Attacks

In Part II  Devoured When Mold Attacks:  it’s about parchment. Another world unto itself. Explore the treatment of the 1861 Constitution. The 1861 Constitution, written after the state’s secession, was badly damaged. The the upper half the document severely mold-damaged. Large losses to the substrate and overall weakening of the parchment support exposed. The loss was from more the mold growth. Insect activity thinned the delicate support.  What could be done? What must be done? Learn treatments used on the two 1790 Constitutions. Illustrations, photographs and details on the process. Well worth the read.

This South Carolina project followed the NEDCC’s treatment of Alabama’s six Constitutions.  Challenges today for conservationists is overwhelming. Thousands of documents are disintegrating.  Outdated practices are either being reversed or updated. Resources are always being sought. For more information on the work of the NEDCC and it’s programs, free classes and more.

 

 

 

 

 

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