Monday, 16 February 2015

March 2015

Preservation work: rehousing the archive

Since the start of the year, Colette, our fantastic archive volunteer, has been carrying out preservation work on the archive and rehousing our records in archival quality folders and boxes. This is a very time- consuming but crucial task to ensure the long-term survival of our records. 

Old box files

The archive is currently housed in box files which, while offering protection against dirt, light and humidity, are not ideal as they are highly acidic. The archive is now in a position to be able to replace these boxes with archival standard folders and boxes. 


The outside of this document has been damaged by touching an acidic box file

Our archive collection is unique and therefore it is important to take the best care possible of it. Using the correct packaging techniques, and archival packaging material, plays a major part in ensuring its preservation. Archival standard boxes and folders are low in acid and lignin and as such do not damage the documents. This packaging provides extra layer of protection for the archives. It protects them from light and pollution and provides some protection from pests and changes in humidity. 

Archives packaged in archival folders and box

When carrying out preservation work and rehousing a file, Colette firstly removes all fasteners (if it safe to do so without damaging the paper. Fasteners such as string, staples, paperclips, pins and rubber bands  can corrode, stain, distort or tear the records) and replaces with them with archival standard solid brass paperclips. She then unfolds and straightens documents (if safe to do so). Next she places the file into an acid-free folder and ties it with unbleached cotton tape. She writes the file number on the folder and places the folder into an archive box making a careful note of which box each file is in. Once the box is full (but not overfilled), Colette then places it flat on the shelf.

Archives before fastenings removed

Archives after being unfolded and fastenings replaced


Archival standard boxes beside the old box files


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