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  • 1.  Document repair

    Posted 12-10-2021 03:38 PM
    Can anybody recommend an online course in archival quality document repair?
    I have vintage maps in my collection, in bad state of repair and I am looking to repair & preserve them.

    Bonita Risley
    Avalon Free Public Library History Center
    Avalon NJ
    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more

  • 2.  RE: Document repair

    Posted 12-13-2021 11:57 AM
    Dear Bonita:

    You are really fortunate, being in South Jersey, to have CCAHA nearby in Philly.  They are one of the very best centers for paper conservation treatment, research and imaging,  They are also an excellent resource for advice for preventative care and education, serving large and small institutions in our area:

    Not to discourage you from pursuing training on your own, but paper conservation and repair -- especially large-format objects such as maps -- involves an understanding of materials, techniques and materials that take years of specialized training and practice.  It may require equipment and space you may not have available to you.   It could be more cost-effective -- and time effective -- to turn the objects over for professional treatment than to attempt these yourself.  
    However, there is a lot you can do on your own to keep your collection relatively stable, and safer to handle, until "the doctor arrives":  I've recommended my clients check out the following YouTube from Chloe Houseman at CCAHA.    It's not a systematic intro class, but it covers many of the issues you'll encounter in history document collections in Q+A format.     You can also contact CCAHA conservators after that with further questions.   

    They have lots of good programs archived on their YouTube Channel.  But in this one, Chloe discusses maps, map storage, and why you don't want to use so-called "archival tapes" for DIY repairs, along with general paper preservation:.  

    Good luck and best wishes,
    Batja in NJ


    Batja Bell

    thoughtful care
    for art, artifacts & exhibitions
    (mobile/text) 862-205-7029

    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more

  • 3.  RE: Document repair

    Posted 12-14-2021 08:18 AM
    The comments and suggestions from Batja Bell are right on target. When I was in graduate school years ago, Carolin Keck at the next-door conservation program emphasized to us museum folks that it is often difficult to be certain about an artifact of concern, as to exactly what materials and structure you are looking at. She demonstrated just how easy it would be to ruin an art object without proper experience, knowledge, and analysis.

    By all means, seek expert advice. There may well be some preventive measures you can take on your own.


    A. B. MacLeish
    Curator Emeritus, Newport Restoration Foundation

    85 Lake Street
    Cooperstown, NY 13326
    (H) 607-547-5172
    (C) 401-265-8607

    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more

  • 4.  RE: Document repair

    Posted 12-13-2021 07:18 PM

    I highly recommend looking at the Connecting to Collections Care website, which is run by the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation and funded by IMLS. They have webinars and courses on all aspects of conservation and an excellent discussion list where professional conservators can answer your questions, no matter how esoteric you think they are.

    In looking at past webinars they've offered, I found one on caring for maps and architectural drawings in a collection, from 2017. That may be a good place to start.

    Good luck!

    Martha Katz-Hyman
    Independent Curator
    Newport News, VA

    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more