J.CAC VOLUME 42 (2017)

The Treatment of a Catharine Parr Traill Botanical Album

Christine McNair

A treatment was undertaken at the Canadian Conservation Institute to conserve a botanical album compiled by Catharine Parr Traill from the collection of the Peterborough Museum and Archives. The botanical specimens, many detached, were vulnerable to mechanical damage due to the stiffness of the binding. After consultation with conservators at the Canadian Museum of Nature, a treatment method was developed to reattach the detached specimens using micro solvent-set straps of Japanese paper. This solvent-set strapping interfered minimally with the movement of the book’s pages and was comparable to methods used within herbariums. The strips are easily reversible and require minimum moisture and adhesive. Some portions of the specimens were lightly adhered using methyl cellulose. The binding itself was structurally altered by adding a moulded spine hollow in order to improve the opening of the volume and to prevent further mechanical damage.

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