State Archives Collection
Making history every day
Conservation & preservation
Learn about the simple things you can do at home to protect your precious documents
“Foxing” is a generic term used to describe a range of deterioration mechanisms in paper and photographic documents
Advice from our Conservation Team
Before going into any detail about the salvage and handling of wet records the importance of relevant training cannot be stressed enough. Contact the government archives, libraries, museums or galleries in your State or Territory to find out what training might be available. The best courses will provide training both in the development of a disaster plan and in the salvage of records – with the very best providing the opportunity to handle and treat examples of damaged records
Disclaimer: The following instructions are intended as a guide. As with many conservation techniques the expertise and dexterity of the practitioner is paramount to the success of the treatment. Practitioners must be confident handling sharp cutting tools and fragile glass plates to undertake the following method
An incident here at NSW State Archives prompted us to write about how to remove blood from paper documents. Metal fasteners can be dangerous, and even a sheet of paper can produce a nasty wound. If you find yourself bleeding all over your precious documents or family heirlooms, do not despair, speedy action will probably result in little or no permanent damage occurring.
Conservation Q&A: Can you give info on removing chewing gum on reverse side of an important document? There is a small quantity of gum still in place – fairly fresh, a circle of about 1/2 inch. Some stain has bled thru to front. What is a safe cleaner? Or is this a job for a conservator/archivist?
This advice is not intended for mould remediation after a large flood incident. We are focusing here on cleaning minor surface mould growth resulting from poor storage environments. Flood incidents have a range of complications that are not covered here
Conservators use a number of methods to remove sticky tape and one of the most effective can be attempted at home
Many archives and libraries face the problem of having damaged books with partially or wholly detached boards that in all other ways are functional. Reattaching the covers or rebinding can be very costly and time consuming. The U-Splint book support (Splint) is a simple alternative being trialled at NSW State Archives to help minimize further damage and support the book structure without the need for costly treatment. The books can still be accessed and can be stored vertically.
When State archives that are damaged are requested by a reader, to view in the reading room, they are assessed and treated by our conservators. Damage may have been caused by poor storage practices, unfortunate disasters, or bad handling in the past
Photographs have filtered into every aspect of our lives. There can be few people today who have not posed for a family snap shot or reminisced over holiday photos from years ago. The use of photography spans the recording of important moments in history to the more commonplace tasks of insurance and identification records. So important have they become that it is difficult to conceive of a passport without one
Penal settlements were places of incarceration and punishment for convicts who committed serious offences after reaching New South Wales
These tips are from our in-house manual handling procedures and guidelines that were prepared by our Senior Conservator