Friday, 8 July 2011

Conserving, re-housing and cataloguing architectural plans

An important task completed recently was the conservation and re-housing of about 70 architectural plans. These had been rolled when they were taken into the Archive, and they were difficult to access and identify without damaging them.

Plans before treatment
The first job was to conserve the plans. Surface cleaning and tear repair were carried out by Ruth, the Paper Conservator, with help from specially trained volunteers. The plans were then pressed so that they could be stored flat in transparent sleeves made of inert plastic (Melinex®).

Stephen, the Archive Assistant, made sleeves for each plan by welding two rectangular sheets of Melinex® on three sides. For plans below a certain size pre-cut sheets were used, but for the larger ones the Melinex® was measured and cut to size from a roll using a scalpel. Ruth then carefully slid each plan into its sleeve and attached an identifying label to the bottom right corner.

The re-housed plans were then carried in bundles of about 15 in a plan carrying folder to their new permanent home: a plan chest in a climate controlled store room. Laura, the Assistant Archivist allocated empty drawers for the plans to go in and recorded all the changes of location into the Locations Database, before identifying suitable plans for small cataloguing projects.
Newly conserved plans in the plan chest
Our most recent one-day volunteer, Lynne who featured in last week’s blog, began to catalogue these plans so that our readers can easily identify and select the ones they want to view. We will continue to catalogue the conserved and re-housed plans to ensure that they are accessible for research use.

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