THE CONSERVATION OF A PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF CANADA
4 TREATMENT OPTIONS
A LITERATURE search was conducted at the beginning of the project to aid in the formulation of comprehensive, sound treatment options. The results revealed little, but included three papers presented at the 1985 winter meeting of the Photographic Materials Specialty Group of the American Institute for Conservation. Two papers presented case studies (Albright 1985; Porter 1985) and the other presented the results of a survey conducted to elicit curatorial concerns on the treatment of photograph albums (Fiske 1985). Based on the results of this survey, and after consultation with other conservators and with the National Archives of Canada staff, the following treatment options were devised:
- encapsulation of the original pages followed by either post-binding or storage in Solander boxes
- removal of the photographs from the original pages, treating the pages where possible, and returning the photographs to the original pages, which would be stored in Solander boxes, encapsulated, or matted
- removal of the photographs from the original pages, treatment of the pages where possible, and storage separately; with the photographs mounted onto new pages and the pages bound, binding them, simulating the original three volumes as closely as possible.
Binding options included post-binding or account-style binding. Post-binding allows individual pages to be removed from the album for research or display and it does not require that the text block be pressed during the binding operation. Due to the large number of photographs in the album that are mounted on heavy card, pressing could cause severe damage to unmounted photographs. Account-style binding, although in keeping with the original, requires pressing of the text block and prohibits the subsequent removal of individual pages for research or display.
Treatment option 3, with post-binding of the pages, was the author's preferred treatment plan and, with a few minor changes, was accepted by the curatorial staff.