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CCAHA's 40th: Film Protects Archival Documents

    • Conservators Choose Melinex

2017 marks 40 years of CCAHA. Every Friday, we'll share the articles, photos, and recollections that tell the story of how CCAHA became a world-renowned leader in conservation science.

Click here to read the article. 

This piece, circulated in the early 1980s, discusses the use of Melinex polyester film in the treatment of historic documents. At that time, CCAHA was using polyester films in its treatment of the “Genizah” documents—several hundred documents, some nearly 1200 years old—from the Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning (now the Hebert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania).

CCAHA conservators used the films to support the pieces during washing and mending. CCAHA founder Marilyn Kemp Weidner explains that by supporting the pieces with the film, “we can remove the weak cloth, paper, tape—whatever—and add new Japanese paper backing.” Finally, the film was used to encapsulate the documents, a technique the article illustrates with several photos of then-CCAHA Technician (now Director of Conservation) Mary Schobert.

The article ends with a flourish:

"When Melinex is used in the encapsulation process, it adds clear protection. Protection from moisture and chemicals. Protection from flexing and crumbling. Protection from damage. Protection from the agents of time that devour all things."

See ongoing coverage of our 40th anniversary here.