Consolidation of moisture and mould-damaged paper

Marie Kleivane
Education degree
School of Conservation
Study programme
Cross-disciplinary master programme

Paper manuscripts that have been exposed to moisture and mould-damage frequently lose physical strength. They also lose material as part of the process.

Together these damages may result in restrictions for handling of the manuscript. As a result, consolidation of the paper may be required before further restoration, especially if the manuscript is to be used actively. The focus of this research paper is the paper manuscript AM 878 4to, belonging to The Arnemagnæan Institute. The institute’s collection is actively used in research, which has large implications for the treatment strategies chosen for its items.

The goal of this research paper is to explore the treatment strategies that can improve the current state of AM 878 4to, all the while conserving the characteristics of the item itself. Different treatment strategies and consolidants are discussed, cellulose ethers in particular. A few selected adhesives are tested to explore the possible changes in physical and mechanical properties of paper, such as tensile strength, zero-span tensile strength, and bending stiffness.

The results showed a tendency for increased flexibility in the samples treated with immersion, whether the immersion was with pure water or consolidants. Of the tested cellulose ethers, methylcellulose (Culminal MC 400) showed a tendency for best results.