飘花影院手机版

飘花影院手机版

Friday, February 27, 2015

Working with Architectural Plans


          I’m still working on architectural plans.  Why couldn’t the architects standardizesize? That makes a difficult re-housing task even more difficult. File foldersand boxes come in size 32x 40, but some of the plans are larger than that. Ifthey are linens they can be rolled, but tracing paper or brittle vellum needsto flat. (Everything would be better stored flat.) One of my co-workers came upwith what I think is a brilliant plan to move the 32x40 size boxes. Right nowthey are stored on what we are calling bread shelving, which is on wheels. (6 heavy gauge wireshelves like you see as a bakery)  The plan is to wheel the whole shelving unit from our officedirectly into a van and then unload it the same way.  (
 I’m still working on architectural plans.  Why couldn’t the architects standardizesize? That makes a difficult re-housing task even more difficult. File foldersand boxes come in size 32x 40, but some of the plans are larger than that. Ifthey are linens they can be rolled, but tracing paper or brittle vellum needsto flat. (Everything would be better stored flat.) One of my co-workers came upwith what I think is a brilliant plan to move the 32x40 size boxes. Right nowthey are stored on bread shelving, which is on wheels. (6 heavy gauge wireshelves like you see as a bakery)  The plan is to wheel the whole shelving unit from our officedirectly into a van and then unload it the same way.  (The plans have to be taken to the University of North Texas in Denton.  Hopefully they have s a loading dock. ) Theyplan to hold the boxes in place with shrink wrap. Great idea! I’ve been worriedabout this for months.   



Now I just have tofigure out how to move the really large plan sets.  One of the supply houses has a larger size file folder so Igot that.  It’s fine, but filefolders especially of that size are floppy. These plans are also going to UNT so we have to figure out how to move themsafely given that there are no boxes large enough for them.  I could make a box, but I’m not sure Icould even get barrier board large enough.  My solution, but I’m open to suggestions, is to make a coverfolder out of e-flute archival board. I’d tie it closed with cotton tying tape. Using that type of housingwould enable us to move the material out of the door because we could turn iton its side and it would be secure enough not to slide. In a box, if I was tomake one, it could slide and be damaged. Working with oversized materials ishard.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Archival Compromises



            Wemake compromises all the time. That’s true in life and it’s true in archival processing.  There’s the ideal way to do somethingand then there’s reality.  Forexample, many factors go into making a decision as to the best housing forcollections.  Right now dealingwith architectural plans I am having to compromise to deal with those factors.Because the drawings are on different media, each requires differenthousing.  The ideal is to storethem flat in metal map cases and separate the different materials - linen fromtracing paper and so on.  The reality is that theseplans are going to be digitized meaning each set needs to be kepttogether.  In addition we don’tknow where the plans will go after they are digitized so we don’t know whatpotential housing conditions they will face. Unless you're the Getty, money also limits decisions thatare possible.  All of this meansthat rehousing decisions will involve compromise. You just have to do your best.  The same is true for protecting your materialsat home.  At a minimum keep paperitems in the dark with some control over humidity and temperature.  That means not in an attic, basement,or unheated storage building.  Some things you just shouldn't compromise if you want materials to last.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Back to Photographs



            WellI’m great at telling people what they should do to preserve their photographs,but with my own photographs I have not done so well.  Actually mine are pretty much a study in what not to do. Ishouldn’t admit that should I? Anyway over the holidays my daughter wanted tolook at old photographs. I had some in an old accordion file (Actually theywere my mother’s and grandmother’s so they are old - early 1900s.) I had putthem beside the sofa to begin re-housing them in archival envelopes and hadactually re-housed a few. That was last Christmas - 2013 not this past one.Oops! Dusty, disorganized, unlabeled. Oh dear.  Somehow it's been easier to go through someone else’s pictures. That is now going to change.

            Whatto do to rectify the damage and start making forward progress?  Last year I made the decision that Ididn’t want to put them in albums so instead I had ordered polyester archivalsleeves. Good so far.  Thatprovides protection, but not order. This year I ordered document envelopes sothat I can impose organization. I’ve decided to do it by subject - my mother’s family, my father’s, mychildhood and favorite animals and so on. Other schemes could be by date, certain activities, locations, whatever.  It’s an individual thing.  My mother had started to separate bythe subjects I noted so I’m just following her order more or less. Choose your own. By theway there’s nothing wrong with albums. They do make viewing easier and do protect your photographs as well assleeves.  I just happen to likesleeves and envelopes  (By the way all of thearchival houses have envelopes in lots of 25 or 100 and in various sizes. I got 9 ½ by 12 with a side opening.  Again your choice.)

            Asfar as the dust is concerned.  Itisn’t as bad as I initially thought. The accordion folder protected most of the pictures and many of the veryearly ones were in archival sleeves. I do have a can of pressurized air andalso a very soft brush.  That ishalting any damage.

            Anywaythe moral of this story is don’t wait. Keep up with your photographs and get going with the organizing and re-housing.  Don’t forget to label with pencil or anIndia ink pen- never a ballpoint.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Framing Documents the Archival Way


            Overthe holidays I got an email from someone asking about how to frame an olddiploma, which they thought was parchment (probably not)  Apparently the document was in poor condition although the writerdid not elaborate on what that meant. There are two questions here - (1) how to care for a damaged documentand (2) how to frame documents. Without knowing more about the document and not being a paperconservator I have to leave the first question to experts.  What I can suggest is to house thematerial in an archival folder out of the light and contact a conservator in the state where you live.  Thiscan be costly depending on the work that is involved, but there are places thatwill give estimates.  Here in Texasthe Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin maintains a list ofconservators - www.hrc.utexas.edu/conservation/resources/directory.  I do know that the Northeast DocumentConservation Center is a reputable organization (www.nedcc.org) and you can sendthem documents for estimates. Conservation comes down to money as the deciding factor.  Individuals protecting family heirloomsjust may want to store their documents in a safe, dry, and dark archival box.Organizations may have more money to invest in conservation.

            WhatI will comment on is how to frame documents to preserve them for as long aspossible.  This you can do at homeand although more expensive than regular framing the steps you take will helpextend the life of your document. Of course you need archival (acid free) supplies.  The document should be behind UVfiltered glass and separated from the glass with an acid free mat.  Never put any document directlytouching glass.  It could stick andoften will.  Backing of the framerequires archival board - usually e-flute board, which looks like blue-greycardboard, but is acid free. Regular cardboard is not acceptable.  If you have framed items with cardboard you should replace thebacking for them as well. That’s it and you are good to go.  By the way most good framing places cando this if you ask.  Next step isnot hanging it in direct sunlight. If you really want to protect it take it out of the light every fewmonths.  The term for this is“resting” the material.  Good luckand remember nothing organic lasts forever, but you certainly can extend itslife.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Novel Cleaning for Architectural Plans


           The first thing you notice when you open a canister ofarchitectural drawings that have been closed for 50 years is the smell.  Best I can describe it is that it is alittle like strong candle wax. This smell is from the resin that coats much of the material in theCastle Drawing Collection, which dates from 1914 to the 1950s.  The resin is embedded in the linensheets of many of the sets of plans and also on the waxy tracing paper calledvellum by architects.  The resinattracts dirt and in the case of the vellum has caused deterioration andbrittleness not only in the impregnated papers but in anything around it.  All challenging to say the least. 






            Mostof the sets are bound together by clips. You know the kind.  Punchthem through a hole and then open the two wings to hold the material together.  They look like brass, but I don't know what metal they actually are.  At any rate whenthey oxidize they create a blue crust on the clip.  This crust flakes off and embeds in the linen or vellumstaining it a blue-green color.  Pretty color, but not so great for the linen and tracingpaper. What to do to keep the crusty bits from scattering everywhere, which is what happens no matter how careful you are.  At first I used a very, very softbrush. It worked but I had to do everything twice. Then I went back to my daysin the museum.  The way to cleanlinen is to lightly vacuum them through a screen using an up and down motion.(I talked about this several blogs ago.) You have to use a vacuum with a hepafilter of course and one that has variable suction speeds. (See blog on vacuumsI have loved) These are costly, but the only way to go. First I vacuum thefront and back of the clip to remove as much of the crust as possiblebefore touching them. Then with gloves on I carefully removed the clips andvacuum the holes again. I’m sure a conservator would be horrified, but itworked. Never use a push and pull method vacuuming you can smudge the ink,which is embedded in the coating. That’s only for the linen material.  For the vellum and tracing paper you have to use the brushmethod.  What  Waverly Lowe and Tawny Ryan Nelb recommendin their book Architectural Records isgrating an eraser (buy at Gaylords or Hollinger) and brushing the bits lightlyover the surface.  It does workwell - tedious of course.  It’simpossible to get all of the blue stain off of any of the material, but onceyou remove the clips it won’t get worse. If anyone has other ideas about how to deal with this problem I am allears or eyes.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Architectural Drawings - The David S.Castle Collection


           Been busy for the past month.  Started a new project - interesting, but demanding.  The project is the processing of acollection of architectural plans designed by one of the most important earlyarchitects in the West Texas region. His name is David S. Castle and he opened his architectural office inAbilene, Texas in 1915.  During hislong career he designed many of the municipal buildings, courthouses,commercial buildings, churches, and residences throughout the West Texasregion.  When he died his son, also an architect,closed the family business and moved elsewhere.  Before he left town he gave the plans from the Abilene office to theTittle Luther Architectural firm.  They have preserved these important papers since the 1950s. 
            Ourgoal is to organize, inventory, and clean these papers so they can bedigitized.  They have been housedin an unheated storage shed in either metal or cardboard canisters.  The plans are drawn on a variety ofmaterial - linen, tracing paper, vellum (waxy feeling coated paper, not calfskin). The collection is large ( over 700 separate sets of plans) and has been touched only briefly during the 50years the material has been in storage. (The earliest set of plans so far dates to 1916- thirty years afterAbilene was founded)  Processingthe collection is a challenge because of the size of the individual pieces andtheir condition.  Dealing withmaterial that is as large as 38” by 42” and is coated with resin is a little like wrestlingslippery fish.  Learning the best method for handling, cleaning, and flattening the material safely and organizing it following the original order hasbeen interesting and I will use other blogs to describe what we have learned aswe learn it.  We only have one moreweek of work so I’m taking a brief break from this blog for the holidays. More in2015 on archives, preservation, and architectural drawings and maybe fish.