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Guidelines for Restoration and Preservation

Restoration and conservation of certain types of materials takes research and understanding about the chemical breakdown of each item and what, over time has been environmentally effecting the material.  There is a systematic process and treatment for different types of exclusive materials.  Listed below are common items that can be preserved or restored and the necessary processes to take in order to do so effectively.

 

Paper- Generally, when paper needs to be restored it is not the actual paper itself but the material printed on the paper that needs the preservation.  There are serveral types of ways that paper can be damaged, such as flaking, acidic mount, tapes or adhesives, stains, tears, creasing and many more obstacles to overcome.

Causes of deterioration- The process of deterioration can be effected by numerous amounts of outside factors.  There are environmental, biological and many more.  Learning what type of deterioration has effected an item is key in determining the best steps possible to restore the item in the best possible manner.

Temperature - Temperature plays a large role in the life of certain items.  Learning how to properly preserve items so that humidity and other temperature related factors do not effect your documents.

Humidity- Humidity affects just about any type of document or photo because they are all made with certain grades of paper.  There are different ways to treat different types of documents from books, newspaper, photos, and artwork.

Flattening Folded or Rolled Materials - Before considering flattening folded or rolled materials it is recommended to seek advice from a paper conservator before taking any drastic steps.  There are certain procedures and steps to take and it is best to understand what types of materials you are working with.

Mold - Mold is generally extremely difficult to remove from old items without damaging it.  A key tip to prevent mold is to freeze your item if it can withstand the drastic temperature.  Most common items to freeze would be books and documents.

Atmospheric Pollutants - There are outside environmental and outside pollutants that can easily affect any type of document.  Gases, sunlight, humidity etc. can all damage important documents and items.

Light - Light such as sunlight and constant exposure to strong lights can distort and change the color of documents and fade them.  Not only is it necessary to store documents properly but it is imperative to block light out as well.

Acid Migration - Often when two types of paper are left in contact with each other for long periods of time with a barcode label or any type of ink the acid from one paper is distributed to another due to the environment leaving stains and markings.

Insects and Rodents - Paper is made of cellulose which, in turn when wet attracts insects and rodents.  It is best to have a professional inspect your place of storage to be sure that you will not have problems down the road.

Proper Book Handling - There's many different types of technicians that specialize in different types of restoration.  Book restoration is one of those specialities that requires special skill and patients.

Leather Book-bindings - Dirt and dust are not the only proponents that cause leather bookbinding damage.  The adhesives that are used can cause more damage over time as well.  Learn how to properly clean both the book and bindings.

Treatment with Potassium Lactate - Using Potassium lactate is a common substance to use when impregnating certain types of bindings such as leather to prevent deterioration.