Conservation of a Delaware map

“Part of Brandywine HD. [Hundred] copied & enlarged from the Map of Newcastle County,” is the title of a map from the Shipley-Bringhurst-Hargraves family papers which are currently being processed in the Manuscripts and Archives Department.

I was asked to create housing which would stabilize this map for use by researchers.  The problem presented by the map is that it is attached to, and tightly rolled between, two wooden dowels.  Consequently the paper map has become acidic and brittle.  It will continue to deteriorate if left rolled on the dowels. The verso of the map is blank.  When the map was unrolled, one side remained open naturally without support, however, the other side immediately rolled up.

It was determined that the map needed to be unrolled and stored flat.  As part of the artifact, the dowels are deemed necessary and will be maintained.

A piece of foam core was cut to the exact size of the unrolled map.  A sheet of flexible (2 ply) polyester was also cut to cover the opened map.  Pieces of soft polyester strapping were used to secure the map between the sheet of polyester and the foam core board, while keeping the map unrolled.

A suitably sized acid-free oversize box was chosen and a second piece of foam core was cut to the size of that box. The first piece of foam core board, with the map, was secured to the box-sized foam core board with non-acidic two-sided tape.  Linen string was then attached to the back of the larger board to facilitate lifting the entire assembled piece from the box.

Anita A Wellner

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