Tag Archives: Collections Management Branch

Conservation Treatment of a Company Payroll

[This blog post was written by Emily Rainwater, Conservator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Company payroll, before treatment

Company payroll, before treatment

During Preservation Week, the State Archives will be displaying a recently conserved 1864 payroll for Company G of the 38th North Carolina Infantry, Confederate States Army. When it was donated, the company payroll was in poor condition. Though the family had done what they could to preserve it, the document suffered from previous water damage and had numerous tears and areas where the paper was lost completely. Some of the text areas were folded over, which obscured the information. There were also several old pieces of tape which had been used at some point to hold the document together. As regular readers of The Charter know, tape can cause a lot of damage, and can be extremely time consuming for a Conservator to remove.

After conservation treatment

After conservation treatment

The treatment started out with thorough written and photographic documentation of the condition of the payroll. Solubility testing was carried out to see if the various printing and manuscript inks could be safely washed, as well as to test what solvent combination would work best on the tape. The document was cleaned with a soft brush, and then each piece of tape and its sticky residue was carefully removed. The document was then washed in a bath to remove some of the products of deterioration which had built up in the paper as well as re-establish the chemical bonds. Next, the document was placed in an alkaline bath, which raises the pH of the paper slightly and gives it a buffer against future acidic degradation. The document was dried flat, and then carefully mended back together using wheat starch paste and a thin Japanese tissue which had been toned to match the color of the paper. Larger areas of loss were filled in with a heavier weight tissue. Finally, the payroll was encapsulated to add protection from handling.

The exhibit will be up through the end of the week and will display the newly conserved payroll and show examples of preservation techniques used to protect paper based materials. The exhibit will take place in the Search Room of the State Archives of North Carolina located at 109 E. Jones Street, 2nd floor. The State Archives is open 8am – 5:30am, Tuesday –Friday and 9am-2pm on Saturday.


Quick Preservation Tips

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch.]

The primary goal of preservation is to prolong the existence of materials and prevent or slow down deterioration. Below are some simple tips that everyone can do that will have significant long term impact on collections.

Basic preservation activities include:

Environmental ControlPhotograph of a data logger

  • Avoid extremes in temperature and relative humidity
  • Provide a moderate and stable temperature and humidity level

Disaster Planning

  • Get your keepsakes out the attic, garage, or the basement
  • Avoid having collections in areas prone to flooding, high humidity and temperature fluctuations.
  • Have multiple copies and distribute copies of essential records geographically (among family members, for example)


  • Minimize handling and always handle with care
  • Fully support items
  • Make sure hands are clean
  • Make access copies— store the original safely and use copies for display, access, and handling

Storage ProtectionPhotograph of an open archival box

  • Protect items from dust, light, and handling with acid-free boxes, folders, or polyester sleeves
  • Use safe and inert plastics

If you’re not sure… ask someone for advice.

For more preservation information, please feel free to contact Jennifer Blomberg, Head of the Collections Management Branch at the State Archives of North Carolina at (919) 807-7308 or at Jennifer.Blomberg@ncdcr.gov


Preservation Week 2015

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch.]

Preservation Week 2015 logo

One of the primary responsibilities of the State Archives is to preserve historically significant materials by preventing or slowing down their deterioration to prevent key information from being lost. The State Archives is again participating in Preservation Week to help build partnerships, help raise awareness about preservation, and to connect to the general public about preservation activities and where to look for preservation expertise.

The State Archives is collaborating with the State Library to conduct a social media campaign, daily preservation trivia question, exhibits, hosting a digital preservation webinar viewing, and posting additional blog posts on preservation tips and activities at the State Archives. For more information on our Preservation Week activities please see the Preservation Week flyer.

Preservation Week Resources and Webinars

Free Webinars

Date Topic Presented By
April 28 Moving Image Preservation 101 Siobhan C. Hagan
April 30 Digital Preservation for Individuals and Small Groups – The Government and Heritage Library and State Archives will be hosting a viewing of this online webinar at the State Archives and Library building in Room 208 2-3pm. Mike Ashenfelder
May 1 Disaster Response Q&A Nancy E. Kraft

The Dunn Dispatch

A new newspaper resource is now available for researchers who visit the State Archives of North Carolina.  A nearly complete run of the Harnett County newspaper The Dunn Dispatch has been donated to the Archives.  The Imaging Unit has completed preservation microfilming of the newspaper.  A security copy of the microfilm was added to the Archives security vault and a research or reading copy of the film has been added to the Archives search room. Our holdings for the newspaper range from 1914 through November 1965.

This newspaper adds a valuable resource to local events in Harnett County.  It is a timely addition to the collection considering that currently the Centennial of the Great War (or World War One) is being observed and the newspaper began at just about the same time as the Great War.

The newspaper is in the microfilm room at the State Archives.  Researchers are encourage to use this new resource.  The microfilm room is a self-service room but Archives staff are happy to assist researchers in getting started using the microfilm holdings.

The State Archives of North Carolina continues to seek North Carolina based newspapers to add to the newspaper collection.  Please contact Chris Meekins, Head of the Imaging Unit, if you have a North Carolina based newspaper you wish to donate to the State Archives.  He can be reached via email – chris.meekins ncdcr.gov or by phone – 919-807-7333.

A Housing for Cigarettes

[This blog post was written by Emily Rainwater, Conservator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Closed housing for the David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76

New housing for the David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76. Click the image to see a larger view.

David Tudor (1926-1996) was a pianist and composer of experimental electronic music. He was an instructor and pianist-in-residence at Black Mountain College during the summer sessions from 1951-1953. On July 4, 1953 David Tudor gave a concert at Black Mountain College with programs printed on cigarette papers by BMC Print Shop. The State Archives of North Carolina holds two of these programs at the Western Regional Archives, one printed horizontally in red and one printed vertically in blue. These programs are in their original rolled cigarette form and remain filled with tobacco.

H-frame during construction for the David Tudor concert programs.

H-frame during construction for the David Tudor concert programs. Click the image to see a larger view.

David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76

David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76. Click the image to see a larger view.

The concert programs needed a new housing which would better protect the fragile objects. A support structure was created for them by cutting an “H” shape out of several layers of museum quality mat board. The legs of the H hold the cigarettes in place while the cross of the H allows for easier handling if they ever need removing from the housing. After adhering multiple layers of mat board together, the frame is thick enough to protect the programs from pressure coming from above. The cut edges of the H were lined with Japanese tissue to help smooth the transition between the layers. The H frame was adhered to several more pieces of mat board to form a backing layer. The completed frame was inserted into a custom cloth covered clamshell box which will provide additional protection.

A view of the new housing for the David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76.

A view of the new housing for the David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76. Click the image to see a larger view. A closer look at the programs is available through the NC Digital Collections.

State Archives of North Carolina’s Efforts are Foundation for Digitization of Early Newspapers for Easy Public Access

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Cultural Resources press release – you can find other news related to NC Cultural Resources here.]

Front page of the North Carolina Standard, Sept. 27, 1851.

Front page of the North Carolina Standard, Sept. 27, 1851.

RALEIGH — Since 1959, the State Archives of North Carolina has microfilmed newspapers from across the state as part of the North Carolina Newspaper Project. This initiative includes more than 1,000 titles published from 1751 until 1898 with the goal of preserving these papers for future researchers.

Two new projects, managed by the UNC-Chapel Hill Library, promise to make these materials accessible to the public in ways that might have seemed impossible during the 1950s.

The Chronicling America project focuses on newspapers printed between 1836 and 1922 in the United States to make them available online. It is a joint project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A second project with Ancestry.com will provide digital access to newspapers printed prior to 1923 through Newspapers.com. Both projects use newspapers microfilmed by the Collections Management Branch of the State Archives of North Carolina and then digitized for UNC Library.

Ancestry.com will allow free access of the Newspapers.com collection to users with a UNC login and on-site at the State Archives, Outer Banks History Center and Western Regional Archives. Access to the Chronicling America online collection is free to all users and can be found at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/?state=North+Carolina.

To date, UNC Library has overseen the digitization of 100,000 pages for Chronicling America and 1 million pages for Newspapers.com, including newspapers from Asheville, Raleigh, Tarboro, Boone and Charlotte. A full list of the newspapers included in the State Archives microfilming initiative is available at http://www.ncdcr.gov/archives/Public/Collections/NonGovernment.aspx#newspapers.

The North Carolina Newspaper Project at the State Archives began microfilming North Carolina newspapers in 1959, capturing papers published from 1751 until 1898 and including more than 1,000 titles.

The State Archives and the UNC Library have worked collaboratively on several projects to provide access to citizens and researchers on the wealth of history and information about North Carolina.

For additional information, please call (919) 807-7329. The State Archives is within the Office of Archives and History at the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

13th Amendment to Tour North Carolina

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch.]

The State Archives of North Carolina has been preparing the 13th Amendment to go on tour. Exhibiting paper-based materials produces many preservation challenges. To properly care for the document, control of the environment, in particular relative humidity and light levels is crucial. Light is very damaging and can cause weakening, brittleness, fading, and discoloration of paper and pigments. All light is damaging, cumulative and irreversible.

Image 1: mounting package

Image 1: mounting package. Click for a larger image.

Image 2: Marvel Seal heat bonded to glazing

Image 2: Marvel Seal heat bonded to glazing. Click for a larger image.

To prepare the 13th Amendment for the Juneteenth tour, we have created a framed sealed microclimate package for the document to travel in and be displayed in. Sealed packages provide physical support and mitigate the effects from the surrounding environment by separating the document from pollution, light, insects and extremes of relative humidity.

Image 3: Back side of sealed package with RH and Temperature card

Image 3: Back side of sealed package with RH and Temperature card. Click for a larger image.

Conservation quality framing materials and UV filtering glazed acrylic were used to create the mounting package. A sheet of Art Sorb was also placed in the mounting package. Art Sorb has the ability to both absorb and release moisture in the air in order to maintain a specific relative humidity. Marvel-Seal was then used to wrap around the entire glazed mount package and heat bonded to the face of the glazing to create a sealed microclimate encasing the document.

For more information about the State Archives of North Carolina please visit our website. http://www.ncdcr.gov/archives/Home.aspx. For more about the Juneteenth tour and the tour schedule, please visit the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources website. http://www.ncdcr.gov/Juneteenth

Image 4: Completed framed sealed package

Image 4: Completed framed sealed package