We have begun encapsulating the blueprints and drawings from the Presbyterian Church. This is the final step in the conservation process. After they are all encapsulated, they will be stored in flat files in the library. While most people will use the digital images of these documents for research, the originals will be available upon request. Encapsulating them will allow for safer handling.
We are encapsulating the documents in Mylar using an ultrasonic encapsulator, which forms a seal using sound waves. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels in the environment and other environmental factors such as dust and insects are some of the major agents of deterioration for delicate materials such as these drawings and blueprints. Encapsulating them creates a stable microclimate for the drawing/blueprint to “live” in and keep unwanted intruders out. Because of the chemical processes used to make blueprints and diazotypes, we only seal three sides. Sealing the entire paper would result in creating a microclimate that was damaging to the print.