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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Helping the Archives

by Conservation


behind the scenes , conservation , James W. and Mary Louise McLaughlin , Mary R. Schiff Library and Archives , paper conservation , archival conservation

Between doing conservation treatments for upcoming exhibitions, our paper conservator and her intern are working on a group of documents from the Mary R. Schiff Library and Archives.  The documents from James McLaughlin and his sister Mary Louise McLaughlin were donated to the Archives last year by descendants of the architect and artist.  Most have been tightly folded for more than a century, so it is difficult to read them or to properly organize and store them as they were received. 

Our conservator is helping prepare the documents for cataloguing and storage by gently unfolding and placing them in a moisture chamber to slowly relax the paper.  They can then be dried between thick, weighted felts.  Some of the documents have dark grime that is being reduced and tears that require mending before they are sent back to the Archives.  The documents shown here are from 1885 and are records from James McLaughlin’s architecture firm relating to the construction of the Cincinnati Art Museum.