Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From the Preservation Intern

To prepare for the upcoming exhibit called Ernest Dudley Chase: A Worldview in Maps held in the State Library from May 22 - September 7, 2009, I have been helping the special collections department with its maps. The map on the left is an example of one of Mr. Chase's maps called The Story Map of Flying.

To prepare the maps, I cleaned the front and back of the maps with a dry cleaning sponge. This sponge is not a typical dish washing sponge. Instead, a dry cleaning sponge is rubbery, it is never wet, and a thin piece is cut off when the sponge becomes saturated with dirt. I also used a non-abrasive, non-smudging, vinyl eraser pencil to remove visible marks.

After the maps were cleaned, I repaired any paper tears the maps had with a Japanese mending paper called Kizukishi. I cooked paste to adhere the Japanese mending paper to the map. To cook paste, I mixed five tablespoons of water to one tablespoon of neutral pH pure wheat starch paste that is a powder form. To get the thick consistency, I placed the liquid paste in the microwave for one minute. Every six seconds, I paused the microwave to check on the paste. It was interesting to see the paste thicken slightly every six seconds. The paste may also be placed on a double boiler, but as the Special Collections Department has a microwave, the paste was microwaved. After the paste thickened, I brushed a layer of paste on the Japanese mending paper and used a microspatula to apply the Japanese mending paper to the paper tear on the back of the map. The mending paper was smoothed out to elongate paper fibers and create an even adhesion. A sandwich of blotter paper, non-woven polyester, repaired map, non-woven polyester, and blotter paper was created and weights were place on top. The weights are left overnight and in the morning any stray paper fibers were trimmed. The image below includes the tools used to repair the maps.

Clockwise from top: Water, brush container, wheat starch paste, pencil, water "pen" for tearing pieces of Japanese mending paper, microspatula, Mylar for applying paste to mending paper, Japanese mending paper.

Stay tuned for the next post, which will include encapsulating the maps for exhibit display!

- Tina Chan, Preservation Intern