How damaged maps and other artifacts are restored at the University of Hawai’i at manoa Hamilton Library Preservation Lab.

University of Hawai’i News

Published on July 8, 2010

The five staff members in the Preservation Department knew what to do to respond to a collection disaster. The Department also had a Paper Conservation Lab and an area for digital documentation. However, there was not a trained Paper Conservator on staff.

In January 2005, the Library invited the first group of consultants to review the damaged collections and contribute to the development of a recovery plan.

Map resting on a tableWorkers looking over a dirty map.

Julie Page (University of San Diego Preservation Department), and Mary Wood Lee (Paper Conservator) in foreground. Staff member Scott Reinke in background.

The consultants also included Pam Najar (New Zealand). Belfor USA had been selected as a recovery partner by the Library and they sent three people including Kirk Lively.

Two workers work on a muddy map

The maps were the first priority for treatment. Hawaii and Pacific materials remained in Hawaii for treatment in the Library’s Preservation Lab, while other maps and aerial photographs were shipped to Belfor, a disaster recovery vendor in Fort Worth. The protocol for treatment used at Belfor was developed in January with the consultants in Honolulu.

Workers standing next to a rack of materials The basic treatment required rinsing the mud off of the maps and drying them in Belfor’s special freeze drying chamber.

Thirty thousand maps were treated by Belfor and returned to the Library

Various labeled packages

Rare maps selected for a Library exhibition had to be treated by paper conservators Debbie Evans and Jeffry Warda.
Dirty map

Worker inspects a map

Treatment of maps in UHM Library Lab

Worker washing a map

A cleaned map.

Two workers working on a table.

Workers placing a map in a rack

Two workers cleaning maps

Two workers in the preservation dept

Clamps and boxes holding down maps.

Special Challenges

Fire Insurance Maps

Maps soaking in a tray

A map on a table

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