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Subject: Exhibiting paper and parchment

Exhibiting paper and parchment

From: Soren Carlsen <sc>
Date: Wednesday, February 3, 1999
This is posted on behalf of conservator, Magdalena L. Midtgaard,
Department of Conservation, Royal Library, Copenhagen who is not on
the list:

    At the Royal Library in Denmark we are planning an extensive
    exhibition of 150 rare codices and manuscripts. Most of the
    material is written on vellum or parchments and some are written
    on paper. With few exceptions all the volumes are bound, many
    still in their original bindings. Sizes range from octaves to
    very large ecclesiastical volumes.

    The exhibition will be shown at two locations 3 months at each
    place. Two different leaves are chosen in each volume as not to
    overexpose the material. The codices and the manuscripts will be
    placed in climate regulated exhibition cases and on individually
    produced book cradles.

    Our current problem is how we are to guard the leaves of each
    volume and put them in a secure and fixed position during the
    period of exhibition. From our point of view, at the department
    of conservation, we have suggested strips made from acrylic or
    polyester film. It is commonly used, has a neutral look and does
    not induce any unhealthy strain to the original material.
    However, the architect and the librarian responsible for the
    frame of the exhibition, would like something more in harmony
    with the old volumes. That is to say 'something more medieval
    looking'.  Their suggestions includes strips of handmade paper,
    linen or vellum as well as silk or hemp cords.

    Thin strips of a good japanese paper can function on some of the
    smaller volumes but is not possible to use on larger ones. Some
    volumes have very tight spines and opens up badly. In some cases
    the vellum is sort of springy and  apt to stand up and form a
    circular form instead of a regular opening with flat leaves.

    Has anyone experimented with different kinds of guards for
    exhibition purpose. We are looking for something strong,
    neutral, unharmful and esthetically pleasing, and would be very
    happy to receive some suggestions from 'out there'.

Soren Carlsen
Royal Library

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:64
                Distributed: Thursday, February 4, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-64-023
Received on Wednesday, 3 February, 1999

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