We received a short note this week from Mary Britton Clouse, of Book & Paper Artifacts, the conservator (and urban chicken rescuer) who is working on the project of restoring the hand-painted Camp Bearskin map. (https://bearskin.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/ye-map-of-camp-bearskin)
She wrote, “I deframed the map yesterday and documented the process to record the unusual construction of the hand hewn frame. The corrugated cardboard backing was particularly nasty as it had a layer of tar incorporated into the board — an early solution to waterproofing packing materials. The next step was to take upright easel shots to document the front and back of the map and details of the most significantly damaged areas.”
She took numerous close-up photos of the most severely water damaged or torn portions of the map. Their next step will be to prepare a report detailing “what damage or deterioration is present; what treatment procedures (ie. cleaning, flattening, repair) are proposed; and what risks and or benefits may be associated with the proposed procedures. ”
Of course, the word “risks” worried us a bit. But it certainly is far less of a risk for an experienced conservator to be dealing with this. At first we were just going to take it out of the frame ourselves, until an astute guest asked, “How do you know it isn’t all stuck to the glass?” Or very fragile. Or glued together in places. Or backed with cardboard and (who knew?) tar. So we’re happy the map is in the care of an expert and we’re hoping that the “risks” are minimized by the skill and background of the experienced people working on the project.
This is the map after being taken out of the frame.
The total damage on the front does not look so bad, until you look closely. It’s when you see the back that it is obvious that it’s suffered quite a bit of damage over the years.
Coming soon: a report of the damage, repair processes and, of course, risks. Just taking the thing off the wall and driving it down to Minneapolis in the first place was a risk. Here’s hoping that the rest of the risks aren’t major.