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Sunday, May 15 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
(Book and Paper) All Over the Map: Bringing Buffalo’s Stars of Cartography to Light (One Lining at a Time)

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This paper presents the conservation of eight rare maps of the city of Buffalo in the collection of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. The project was funded by a New York State Discretionary Grant and highlighted in a recent exhibit in the library’s Grosvenor Rare Book Display Room entitled, “You Are Here: Buffalo on the Map” (http://www.buffalolib.org/content/now-display/rare-book-room/buffalo-on-the-map). The conserved maps collectively depict the growth of Buffalo, New York, from village to town to bustling city between the years 1805 and 1909. The maps in their pre-conservation state ranged in size and structure, from a 7 x 9 inch engraved map mounted to acidic board to a nearly 3 x 4 foot hand-drawn map lined twice with cloth; however, they shared a generally poor state of preservation resulting from natural aging and use in combination with improper housing. Condition issues included overall discolouration and embrittlement, staining, delamination and loss, tears and inappropriate previous repairs, darkened surface coatings and aged backings. Several of the maps were stored folded and could not be opened up for viewing without risking significant further damage through handling. While the original treatment plan outlined in the grant proposal described a complete restoration of the maps, plans had to be scaled back due to an unfortunately late notification of the library’s award and a drastically reduced timeline for the work. In addition, unforeseen developments during treatment necessitated multiple reassessments and changes to the already modified treatment proposal. Six of the eight maps required linings to strengthen the weak paper supports, but traditional paste linings were not feasible in several instances due to unexpected sensitivity of media as well as poor quality papers that were compromised by water damage and mold. Two of the maps were so fragile that backing removals were deemed too risky, and the new linings were carried out over the existing cloth backings. In the interest of balancing the preservation needs of the maps with the need for economy of time and materials, a dry lining technique using toned heavyweight Japanese paper and a heat set film of Lascaux 498 HV and 303 HV adhesive was developed to simultaneously stabilize the maps and compensate for loss. This technique was applied, with slight modifications, to five of the maps. The treatment of three of the maps (“Map of Buffalo Village: 1805”, “Map of the City of Buffalo”, and “The Matthews-Northrup New Map of the City of Buffalo”), including a detailed account of the lining process, is discussed in depth.

avatar for Stephanie Porto

Stephanie Porto

Owner & Paper Conservator, Niagara Art Conservation
Stephanie Porto is owner and paper conservator at Niagara Art Conservation (NAC) in Niagara Falls, Canada. Stephanie holds a Master of Arts and Certificate of Advanced Study in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College (Buffalo, NY). In addition, she has gained conservation experience... Read More →

Sunday May 15, 2016 3:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Room 210 AB/EF