by Erin Hammeke, Senior Conservator for Special Collections
We recently treated and housed a collection of 19th century photo albums documenting travels in China by Charles Davis Jameson. Most of the albums had very degraded leather covers that we treated by consolidating with Klucel G, making Mylar wrappers for some, and simply housing in protective enclosures for others. One accordion album posed a particular challenge with its shaped wooden boards and silk covering. The silk cover was shattering and had become completely detached from the front board. We decided to make a wrapper for the loose front cover and house it in an enclosure with the book.
The back cover, however, was still extant but very tenuously attached.
We wanted to find a quick and simple solution to stabilize the rear covering and decided to use a lightweight Nylon netting, toned with acrylic, and wrapped around the silk covering and wooden board to contain and protect it.
The netting was adhered to a Mylar insert, cut to the size of the front cover with 3M ATG transfer tape. A leaf of archival paper that matched the tone and quality of the album paper was adhered with double-stick tape on top, sandwiching the netting between layers of archival material and protecting the facing photograph from abrasion from the netting.
The netting is stretched over the pillow-shaped wooden board and the cut end of the Nylon is left open at the board hinge. We were very happy with this quick and easy solution.