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Saving an 1890 Fairbury Fair poster from 1976 folded newspaper

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Project by DaleMaley posted 08-18-2019 08:10 PM 556 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am basically the Historian for our small town of 3,800 people. Our local Fairbury Fair first started in 1876, and still runs today.

In 1976, our local newspaper re-created 2 old fair posters…...........one for the 1890 Fair and one for the 1900 Fair.

A local citizen moved to California, but he continued to receive our local newspaper. He died. One of his descendants hand carried the old 43 year old newspaper on a plane from California to Illinois and gave it to me in July of 2019. The 2 old fair posters are really neat, but they had significant creases in them that detracted from the images.

I was wondering, “How the heck can you remove 43 year old creases from a fragile newspaper?”

Then I remembered a trick I learned in the early 1980’s. Back then I was making wood picture frames. After finishing the frame, putting in the glass and photo….......then I white Elmer glued brown grocery bag paper onto the back as a dust seal. The brown paper was not tight and slightly wrinkled. Somehow, I learned that if you rub a web rag on the brown paper and wet it….............and then let it dry…...........the brown paper draws up tighter than a drum…....and stays that way…........like magic !!

I decided to try out this old trick on the fragile 43 year old newspaper. I made a wood frame using scrap 1×4’s with Kreg pocket screws. I Elmer glued the old newspaper to the wood frame. Then after 5 cycles of wetting the back of the newspaper with a wet rag….....and then electric blow drying it….......all the creases tightened up!!

I used Microsoft Paint to do a little more digital touch-up…........and the old images are as good as new!!

I plan to have a print shop make me some new copies…............wood frame then….....and then donate to our local museum and local charity auction.

You can see my whole process at my woodworking web site.

thanks

-- Dale, Illinois, http://dalemaley.webs.com/





3 comments so far

View ClaudeF's profile

ClaudeF

973 posts in 2190 days


#1 posted 08-18-2019 10:20 PM

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

1838 posts in 2435 days


#2 posted 08-18-2019 11:22 PM

Hi Dale,
I have a Master’s in History specializing in Archives and Museum Management and worked for the State Archives for 10 years. Your conservation technique would make most professional archivists cringe – fortunately I’m not most archivists (I once put wet books in a Fire Department’s hose dryer causing my colleagues to accuse me of unspeakable crimes against paper – now that technique is an accepted alternative to expensive freeze drying.) While I would not have recommended your method for the original 1890 and 1900 posters, if it worked for the 1976 newspaper reproductions that is great. When you have new copies made ask that they be printed on acid free archival quality paper, and have them framed with acid free museum quality mat board. It is more expensive but the items will last much longer without fading or becoming brittle. Also keep them away from direct sunlight.

Great job on the wood frames, best of luck with your auctions, and thank you for helping to preserve local history.

And if you ever want some free advice about archives or museums, let me know (us lumberjocks should stick together).

-- Leafherder

View DaleMaley's profile

DaleMaley

496 posts in 2719 days


#3 posted 08-18-2019 11:32 PM



Hi Dale,
I have a Master s in History specializing in Archives and Museum Management and worked for the State Archives for 10 years. Your conservation technique would make most professional archivists cringe – fortunately I m not most archivists (I once put wet books in a Fire Department s hose dryer causing my colleagues to accuse me of unspeakable crimes against paper – now that technique is an accepted alternative to expensive freeze drying.) While I would not have recommended your method for the original 1890 and 1900 posters, if it worked for the 1976 newspaper reproductions that is great. When you have new copies made ask that they be printed on acid free archival quality paper, and have them framed with acid free museum quality mat board. It is more expensive but the items will last much longer without fading or becoming brittle. Also keep them away from direct sunlight.

Great job on the wood frames, best of luck with your auctions, and thank you for helping to preserve local history.

And if you ever want some free advice about archives or museums, let me know (us lumberjocks should stick together).

- leafherder

Thanks!

It seems like I end up repairing many old documents for out town…........so I may give you a holler the next time I run into one that stumps me.

Dale

-- Dale, Illinois, http://dalemaley.webs.com/

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