Conservation of Older Materials

Conservators may work on a 12th century manuscript alongside a 20th century document. The condition issues older materials have relate to how they were made, or to what each has experienced in hundreds of years of storage and use. With older materials, if their components are unusual, complications may arise, but many were made using traditional and high-quality techniques. Unfortunately, many traditional materials and techniques also have long-term problems that present themselves as commonly-seen degradation patterns. Fortunately, unlike in 20th century collections, these problems are known, have been studied, and in many cases conservation techniques have been developed to treat them.

Exhibit Case and Poster

Photo by Jennifer Har