The paper conservation laboratory is designed and equipped for the treatment and preservation of paper-based materials including drawings, watercolors, prints, and illuminated manuscripts.  In addition to fine art paper and media, the paper conservators treat archival materials such as documents, maps, photographs, and books. Oversize pieces, contemporary art, three-dimensional paper objects, works on parchment, and mixed media pieces are also treated.  Paper conservators can also carry out on-site projects and assessment of collections as requested.

To view a regional map of additional ICA conservation projects, click here.

Louisville Flood Map (detail)
Owner: Metropolitan Sewer District, Louisville, KY
This map depicts the reach of the floodwaters in Louisville during the historic flood of 1937. Because it was a working map, the paper was backed with fabric so it could be more easily transported and used in the field.  After many years in the field and then rolled in storage, the paper had become brittle and was severely cracked and split in many places. It was very dirty and had some minor areas of water damage. ICA paper conservation staff performed a surface cleaning and washing treatment, removed the deteriorated fabric backing, and lined the object with a new backing of Japanese paper. The new lining helps to stabilize the map and will prevent further cracking and losses in the paper. The map was framed and will hang in the lobby of the Metropolitan Sewer District as a reminder of this important event in Louisville’s history. View enlarged before and after images.

Paper preservation and treatment steps may include:

  • Surface cleaning, stain reduction, aqueous bathing, tape removal
  • Mending of tears, humidification and pressing
  • Media compensation or restoration of losses
  • Re-housing of items, including encapsulation, boxing, matting and framing
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