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2017 is CCAHA's 40th anniversary.

On this page, we'll share the articles, photos, and recollections that tell the story of how CCAHA became a world-renowned leader in conservation.

View our 40th anniversary blog here.
Selected articles from CCAHA's history

2/10/06: A Love Tale Old and Delicate

CCAHA treated a unique fraktur: an intricate lover’s knot weaving together poetry and a marriage proposal.

January 2002: Wyck House and Gardens' 19th-century Panorama of Constantinople

The panorama, dated 1813 and over 13.5 feet long, was at Wyck for over 200 years before it was brought to CCAHA for treatment. 

Winter 2000: This Venerable Document

In 1997, CCAHA treated an object that arrived with a Pennsylvania State Police escort: the 1681 Pennsylvania Charter.

2008: Pennsylvania's Civil War Muster Rolls

CCAHA spent three years treating Pennsylvania's Civil War Muster Rolls—the recording of every soldier in the state.

Fall 1995: Disaster Response and Preparedness Program

In 1995, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia participated in CCAHA’s Disaster Preparedness and Response program.

Fall 1995: Penn Museum's Mary Louise Baker Watercolors

CCAHA has treated many of the watercolors of archaeological illustrator Mary Louise Baker.

8/30/95: If a Disaster Hits, the Document Docs are Ready

This article provides an in-depth look at CCAHA, from conservation treatment to preservation initiatives.

8/17/89: CVC Library Holds Best Collection of Original Appalachian Material

This article from The Coalfield Progress discusses a conservation survey of an Appalachian archive undertaken by CCAHA.

11/12/92: Refreshing the Images of the Past

This article discusses the difference between conservation and restoration and suggests three places—CCAHA first among them—to have photos treated. 

1/11/1998: Their Meticulous Art is One for the Books

This Philadelphia Inquirer article describes the conservation work being done in Philadelphia by profiling CCAHA, a bookbinder in private practice, and the American Philosophical Society. 

1/20/2006: Behind the Scenes with Franklin

CCAHA current Board Chair Page Talbott organized the Benjamin Franklin Tercentennial exhibit. CCAHA's staff did much of the conservation work on the objects. 

1/13/1994: A Helping Hand with Historical Preservation

This article highlights CCAHA's Philadelphia Stewardship Program, with case examples from the Conshohocken Historical Society and Germantown Academy.

7/5/1990: Small Phila. Shop Preserves History

This article describes CCAHA’s treatment of 600-700 objects—passports, photographs, certificates, journals, and tickets—for the new Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

4/3/1989: Preserving Art Treasures Becoming Big Business

This article from Rochester, Minnesota’s Post-Bulletin liberally employs a descriptive analogy, calling conservation “the health care sector of the art and antiquities trade.”

Summer 1991: Barry Papers Preserved

This article highlights CCAHA's work on Revolutionary War-era documents belonging to what is now the Independence Seaport Museum.

January 1985: CCAHA Moves

In 1985, CCAHA moved to the location it occupies now: the second floor of a historic building in Philadelphia’s Fitler Square neighborhood.

Early 1980s: Conservators Choose Melinex Polyester Film to Protect Historic Archival Materials

This piece details the use of Melinex polyester film in the treatment of historic documents.

8/8/1989: Old Documents Face New Menace

This article discusses a two-year initiative on the part of the Virginia State Historical Records Advisory Board to preserve their collections. 

9/5/83: Treaty of Paris Undergoes Conservation Treatment at LC

CCAHA was contracted to treat the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War as part of a celebration of its bicentennial. 

April 1985: Andrea Doria Salvage

In the mid-80s, CCAHA was involved in a high-profile triage project: the treatment of the paper currency from the sunken ocean liner Andrea Doria.

3/17/95: University is Home to Precious Collection

This article details CCAHA’s work on Villanova University’s McGarrity Collection, a large collection of objects related to Irish culture. 

1982: Stewards of the Past

This article features CCAHA’s work on the InterNorth Art Foundation’s collections, which were on permanent loan to the Joslyn Museum of Art in Omaha, Nebraska.

1984: Restoration of Walter Drawings Continues 

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia’s Fall 1984 newsletter, Athenaeum Annotations, was a special conservation issue, highlighting the treatment of a recently-acquired collection of paintings and drawings of Thomas Ustick Walter, one of the foremost American architects of the 19th century.

1984: The Declaration of Independence  

This article highlights one of CCAHA’s early, high-profile projects: the 1984 treatment of a draft of the Declaration of Independence written in Thomas Jefferson’s hand.

This article discusses the conservation and preservation uses of a new material—Mylar—through an interview with and photos of CCAHA.

1/26/83: Mission: Keep History in Sight

This article, published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, highlights an important aspect of CCAHA’s work: disaster recovery.

November 1982: 10,000 Years of Work

This November 1982 profile of CCAHA touches on two salient concepts in the conservation field: standardized conservation training and the “inherent vice” of all objects. 

January 1982: Truly a Super Idea

Published in the January 1982 edition of the Association of Canadian Archivists Bulletin, this short blurb on CCAHA and its facilities lauds the development and use of new technologies.

1/5/79, 7/16/79, 1980: CCAHA's First Press Releases

As a nonprofit, CCAHA has long relied on grant funding. Our first press releases testify to this, calling for and then excitedly announcing grants that supported the foundation of CCAHA.

2/26/65: She Restores Wrinkled Utrillos

Published Friday, February 26, 1965, this article features a tour of a space like the one CCAHA initially occupied; when Marilyn Kemp Weidner founded CCAHA in 1977, she and her small staff operated out of her studio.

1/21/79: Paper Work: Soul of the New Center

This article—from January 21, 1979—describes the beginnings of CCAHA. The article details how CCAHA was founded to serve small- to medium-sized collecting institutions. In order to have objects treated, institutions needed to become members by paying a yearly membership fee of $25.