March 17, 2009

Conserving the Chew Papers: Mold Removal

This is the third in a series of blog posts devoted to the conservation being performed on the documents, books and manuscript materials in the Chew Family Papers Collection. See the first post on enclosures, here, and the second on paper conservation, here.

From the basement to the attic to the stables, most of the Chew Family Papers were stored for many years in unstable environments. As a result, portions of the collection arrived to the Historical Society with significant amounts of mold. In order for the material to be processed (remember this post from May 2007?), these documents had to be treated by our mold technicians.

HSP has a designated mold removal facility with its own ventilation and air filtration system. The technicians wear Tyvek suits, nitrile gloves and respirator masks. Mold removal entails vacuuming with a HEPA-filtered vacuum and wiping book covers with alcohol.

Preservation Technicians Anni Altshuler and Watsuki Harrington vacuuming moldy documents.

For the safety of researchers, items that have been cleaned for mold are clearly labeled, as seen in the image at the top of this post.

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