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Securing pictures for the long term

Grafikkonservierung am IfR

Not only does the Austrian National Library collect books, but also hand drawings, printed images, maps, globes, posters, manuscripts and autographs. In contrast to a museum, these holdings should be accessible to as many people as possible as well, either in their original or in a digitalised format.

Institute for Restoration ensures a good environment

The holdings are preserved in the best possible way by being stored in a stable environment with ageing-resistant materials (folders, passe-partouts, boxes). We do everything we can to create good conditions for as many works as possible. In case of special objects, we look for tailored storage systems such as for large-format maps or gouache on parchment. Proper storage and careful handling are the best ways to preserve our valuable holdings.

Preserve, not rejuvenate

Our aim with preservation is to maintain the historical condition and prevent further damage. We are not cosmetic surgeons; we want to enable the objects to age with dignity. The statements of the works should be recognisable and readable. We clean, for instance, heavy soiling that impairs the appearance. It is sometimes necessary to remove old mountings and lamination. We glue behind tears and touch up imperfections to prevent any part from going missing. We stabilise ink and colour layers to avoid losses. We remove substances such as sticky tape or adhesives that may lead to further damage. Pictures and drawings are mounted on cardboard or in passe-partouts.

We plan large preservation projects over the long term with the various departments. In case of exhibitions at the Austrian National Library and other museums, we prepare objects for presentation. Current examples of our work can be found in our blog contributions.

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