Science and Heritage Programme
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From Structural Change to Perceived Damage: Appropriate Environmental Conditions for Parchment

The National Archives

Award holder - Dr Lee Gonzalez

PROJECT SUMMARY

From Structural Change to Perceived Damage: Appropriate Environmental Conditions for Parchment

The National Archives

Dr L Gonzalez
Amount awarded: £234,438.00


Heritage plays a vital role in the cultural and economic well-being of our society. It is part of our culture, our history, our lucrative tourism industry and forms part of our legacy to pass onto future generations. This fellowship will help understand how the storage conditions contribute to the decay of part of our heritage - historic documents.

The fellowship proposed aims to carry out interdisciplinary research to measure the structural changes that can occur in parchment at different temperatures and relative humidities. It is sole purpose to develop an understanding of how different levels of damage - that make up a historic parchment- are intrinsic to the rate of decay of the document. Appropriate guidelines can then be established on how best to preserve and store historic parchments.

The hosting institute- The National Archives- will allow access to historic parchments housed in their archives. This will give an unprecedented review of the range of damage found in historic parchments. The partner institute - Cardiff Imaging Institute- will provide the facilities needed to measure the structural changes that occur within historic parchments at a range of temperature and relative humidites.

The fellowship will include in its activities a series of seminars and workshops that are aimed at engaging conservators to become interested in the findings of the project, and, analysing the practical ways of researching how preservation techniques can contribute to the rate of decay of a historic parchment. The project intends to disseminate the findings as a manual, that has the potential to inform archives and institutions worldwide.

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