Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Paper Conservation

Conservators in the Paper Conservation Lab. Click to enlarge.

Jane Boyd (left), softens adhesive on the border
of the drawing, "The Christening Party" by
W. H. Robinson. Stephanie Watkins, (right),
prepares a manuscript for localized moisture
treatment.

The Paper Conservation Lab is responsible for the safe storage, care and conservation treatment of the manuscripts, prints, drawings, posters, and other works on paper in the Ransom Center collections. The work performed by the staff ensures that these collections will remain available for their enjoyment and study by future generations of visitors and scholars.

In addition to the examination, treatment, and proper storage of collection materials on paper, the paper conservators conduct research on the technology and history of media and support materials, literary and artistic processes and methods, and treatment procedures. Past research has included ink manufacture, stability of commercial inks, pencil manufacture, the alkalization of paper, and Japanese paper manufacture. The lab staff is currently participating in an American Society for Testing Materials/Institute for Standards Research (ASTM/ISR) 100-year research project to study the effects of aging on printing and writing papers.

As in the other department laboratories, the Paper Conservation staff provide opportunities for University of Texas conservation students and interns from other conservation training programs to gain practical conservation experience to supplement their academic studies.