Volunteers repackage over 200 volumes for Archive Service

  • 22nd January 2016

Thank you to my team of stunning volunteers who have worked so hard measuring, cutting, folding and stamping to produce bespoke boxes for over 200 large volumes that were previously wrapped in brown paper!

Mary and Lesley placing the final boxed volumes on the shelf

Working in pairs for three-hour sessions, volunteers have worked with me in the Conservation studio to produce the boxes.  The large, and often heavy volumes do not fit easily into our standard sized boxes here at the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, so were wrapped in brown paper before they were placed on the shelves.  Whilst the paper does provide some protection from any dust that may settle on the volumes, it can be difficult and frustrating to re-wrap the volumes following consultation, and acid in the paper may actually be damaging the volumes rather than protecting them.

The completed row of over 200 boxes produced by volunteers – and a glimpse on the left of those still to be boxed.

Each box has to be produced by hand, after measuring and calculating the size required and has been made from acid-free ‘Archival Quality’ card.  As a result, the volumes are now easier to handle and are protected from dirt and dust whilst being stored on shelves.  In addition, boxing volumes provides extra protection should disaster strike in the form of a fire, with the box acting as a barrier that burns before the volume inside is significantly damaged.

Whilst being an important aspect of preservation, the sheer volume of material requiring my attention means I would not have been able to produce the boxes myself and without the work of my volunteers these volumes would still be in their brown paper wrappers.  So thank you very much to all my volunteers who have worked so hard!  We now have a row of boxed volumes that I am very pleased with and will ensure the volumes have the best possible protection for many years to come.

Now that just leaves all the other shelves of brown paper packages in need of boxes!

By Rhonda Niven, Conservator

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