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Surprising preservation advice

Archives New Zealand, Wellington · 14 December 2017
We recently came across some surprising advice from a Conservator in response to a request for storage advice - and thought you’d be interested.

The enquirer said: “We have large sized archival documents – some up to 100 years old – that have low use because we have digitisation access copies. The documents are folded-up and stored in envelopes and stubbornly resist flattening.

What’s a good method for flattening and how should we then store the flattened archives?”

The Conservator responded: “For very low use archives we wouldn’t advise flattening as a routine measure, as the space occupied by the archives would expand greatly.

If use was very low (i.e. because you’re digitised them), and as long as the environmental conditions are good then folded documents will survive perfectly well as they are.

If you really wish to flatten items like folded oversize plans – for say an exhibition – they could be safely flattened by weighting with a board and gradually the paper will relax. This may take several weeks.

It’s good to store the documents in acid-free, buffered envelopes and acid-free, archival boxes, if possible.” *

*Maybe you could add these to your list to Santa this Christmas?

Check out the NZ Conservators of Cultural Materials web pages - http://nzccm.org.nz/

We’ll be taking a break from the 23rd of December - returning on the the the 8th of January 2018.

Meri Kirihimete, and enjoy using the Community Archive over the break.

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