Thursday, October 13, 2005

Appropriate housing for maps and plats

This week in the archive we have begun to rehouse the smaller plats and loose maps. This was necessary as the previous storage strategy used for these materials was causing them to be damaged each time they were accessed. The map below was once housed in a cardboard folder that was too small for its size, and wrapped in glassine, a material that becomes acidic over time. This resulted in frayed edges and damage to the paper:

Now the maps of this type will be housed in drop front boxes of an appropriate size. The drop front will allow for maps to be accessed easily by sliding them out, rather than picking them up at the fragile edges. In addition, the maps in these boxes have been interleaved with Permalife paper. This interleaving gives the archives a place to notate the catalog information for the map, and will prevent further damage to the item as a person retrieving the map can pick up the interleaving paper instead of touching the map directly. Since some of the maps were printed on acidic paper or with inks that rub off over time, the interleaving paper prevents the maps from damaging each other in the box as well.

We are also rehousing the items that were in storage of the wrong size. The plats below were stored flat and in a good flat file; however, because of their small size, this housing was causing them damage. The plats would slide around when the drawers were opened, causing abrasion.

Now the plats are being sorted into smaller drop-front boxes (this one has a divider so that many may be stored together). These plats will also be interleaved, not only for cataloging, but because the plastic material they were printed on degrades over time and becomes sticky. Interleaving the plats will prevent the items from sticking together in storage.