At the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives, we spent the week discussing many issues, as our monthly meeting was taking place the day after Girl Scout Week was complete (March 10-16, 2013). Today, we had a work day sorting posters in our collection and seeing what sorts of duplicates we might have. As in many Archives collections, we found posters that were great but also damaged through age as well as regular wear and tear.
How, might you ask, do these volunteers deal with such a problem? In the past, tape was often used to bind the edges (or middles) together. Today, there are products on the market labeled as “archives tape” or “framers tape.” What you want to remember is:
“Don’t DO anything that you can’t UNDO.”
Tape is tape–there are adhesive and chemicals involved. The special tapes have a lower amount of these than commercially available tape, but none of these are perfectly safe for long-term use.
So what can we do, you may ask? If the item is small enough, you may wish to encapsulate the item between two sheets of mylar. A great description of this process is on the State Archives of Florida site. However, if the item is very large, such as the posters in question, you may wish to store them flat in a large, oversize alkaline folder and try to handle as little as possible. If it is a popular item, have it scanned and make a “use copy” for researchers, volunteers, or exhibits.
If you have further questions about this topic, archives products, or vendors, we’ll be happy to help. We’d love to hear about your favorite Council poster!