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Emergency Preparedness and Response

Collection Recovery Methods: Art on Paper

Art on Paper includes prints, drawings, maps, architectural plans, posters, and oversize paper.

Art with soluble inks and colorants   -   Art on coated paper   -   Art on plain paper with stable inks and colorants


Art with soluble inks and colorants

Recovery Priority within the first 24-48 hours

  • Dry items immediately. (If there are too many items to dry within 24 hours, then freeze them.) The amount of media that will bleed and run increases with the degree of wetness, time, and contact with other materials. Do not blot or tightly compress items.
  • Remove any wet mats if this can be done without damaging the artwork.

Freezing Procedures

  • Place freezer paper between items to prevent the transfer of inks and colorants.
  • Pack rolled items separately and one layer deep, to avoid crushing.
  • Pack oversize items flat in map drawers, flat boxes, or on/between plastic-covered rigid cardboard, corrugated board, foam board, or plywood. Strap boards with tape to secure and maintain rigidity.

Air Drying Procedures

  • Separate and place items face-up to air dry on an absorbent material (e.g., blotters).
  • Place nearly dry items, separated by absorbent material, in stacks to reduce severe distortion during the final drying.
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Art on coated paper

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Dry items immediately. (If there are too many sheets to dry within 24 hours, then freeze them. Freezing is preferred to air drying.) If coated papers are allowed to dry in contact with one another, then they will fuse together.
  • Cover papers with plastic to prevent partial drying until they can be frozen or salvaged.
  • Use extra caution with large objects; wet paper is easily torn. Support with screens or polyester webbing.

Freezing Procedures

  • Keep items very wet. Pack in containers lined with plastic to prevent drying.
  • Pack rolled items separately and one layer deep, to avoid crushing.
  • Pack oversize items flat in map drawers, flat boxes, or on/between plastic-covered rigid cardboard, corrugated board, foam board, or plywood. Strap boards with tape to secure and maintain rigidity.

Air Drying Procedures

  • Separate and place items face-up to air dry. If the surface is tacky, then place freezer paper underneath the item to prevent it from sticking to the drying surface underneath.
  • Place nearly dry items, separated by nonabsorbent material, in stacks to reduce severe distortion during the final drying.
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Art on plain paper with stable inks and colorants

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

Items are generally stable; dry or freeze within 48 hours.

  • Use extra caution with large objects; wet paper is easily torn. Support with screens or polyester webbing.

Freezing Procedures

  • Pack items flat in map drawers, flat boxes, or on/between plastic-covered rigid cardboard, corrugated board, foam board, or plywood.
  • Strap boards with tape to secure and maintain rigidity.

Air Drying Procedures

  • Prior to drying, drain excess water. Lightly blot with absorbent material.
  • Gently unfold or unroll items. Separate and place face-up to air dry.
  • Place nearly dry items, separated by nonabsorbent material, in stacks to reduce severe distortion during the final drying.
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