Special Collections & Archives Blog

Care of Scrapbooks Workshop

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 1:29 pm
Care of Scrapbooks Workshopan example of an old scrapbook

On Wednesday, July 16, Vicki Johnson and I attended a Solinet workshop on caring for scrapbooks. The workshop was presented by Jessica Leming of Solinet Preservation Services. This workshop covered a seldom addressed topic-the deterioration of older scrapbook collections. These scrapbooks take a variety of shapes and forms- ledgers, re-purposed sales catalogs, and bound materials of all kinds. At one time, it was apparently popular to take any bound item and paste your mementos inside as if all the pages were blank.

Jessica covered the general areas of assessment (condition), prevention treatments, housing(what to put a scrapbook in to protect it) and policies.

One of the main issues with preservation of historic scrapbooks is the use of “ground wood pulp paper”-a paper made from unbuffered wood pulp that is very acidic. This kind of paper was used heavily form around 1850-1900 to meet growing demands. Now, this paper is becoming brittle and causing problems. Other issues seen in historic scrapbooks is fading of photographs, staining from glues, binding failure de-lamination, brittle/yellowed cellophane tape, and faded inks.

Solutions for scrapbook preservation inclusde:

  • Interleaving of acid-free cotton rag paper-the step insulates each page from the ther and can prevent staining and bleed through.
  • Enclosures- drop spine or archival boxes can house an entire scrapbook to prevent further deterioration and light damage.
  • Treatment
  1. stabilization can be attained by mending or storage
  2. Reformatting- making a preservation facsimile or a preservation microfilm copy will protect the original item while allowing access to the content.
  3. Digitization- another way to allow access to the information of an item while protecting the actual item from handling damage.
  4. Disbinding/Preservation- the scrapbook can actually be restored if the money and preservation skills are present

This workshop helped me to be aware of a growing area of preservation needs and the appropriate methods of protecting historic scrapbooks.

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