Care and Preservation of our Architectural Heritage

Hello, my fellow history buffs! My name is Allie Edmonds and I am graduate student in the Wright State University Public History program. This semester I’ve had the pleasure of completing my capstone project with SC&A. Throughout my project, I’ve gained a great deal of experience in archival preservation, which includes proper cleaning and storage of architectural drawings and blueprints. These materials were a new accession for the Archives and the Pretzinger Architectural Collection (MS-153).Did you know that every building tells a story? Throughout history drawings have been used to explain principles, implement design concepts, construct new architecture, and document the creative processes. Not only can we learn about a building’s history through these designs, but each drawing and blueprint can be appreciated for its artistry. For centuries, architects have been the cornerstone of every building and are responsible for bringing them to life.According to the Society of American Archivists (SAA), architectural records include a variety of material and physical types that should be individually assessed in terms of preservation needs.

Material types of records commonly found in architectural record collection include:

  • Original drawings – working drawings, colored renderings, structural drawings, sketchbooks, trace papers, and tracing cloth, such as linens
  • Reproductions – blueprints, sepias, white lines, photographic, hectographic, photomechanical, plotter prints
  • Documentation – specifications, planning documents, office records, photographs, films, videos, oral histories, computer records
  • Three Dimensional -architectural models, plaster maquettes, awards, original office furniture, product samples

Physical types of materials:

  • Papers
  • Plastics
  • Adhesives
  • Wood
  • Art media (graphite, ink, charcoal)

Proper Storage of Architectural Collections:

  • Keep collections in a cool environment away from light, heat, and high relative humidity
  • Store in acid free folders that can be put into horizontal flat files
  • Store in archival roll storage tubes and stack by number or title (honeycomb approach)

For more information please visit:

https://www2.archivists.org/groups/design-records-section/preservation-of-architectural-records

https://cool.conservation-us.org/coolaic/sg/bpg/annual/v22/bp22-25.pdf

https://www.culturalheritage.org/docs/default-source/annualmeeting/78-the-storage-of-architectural-drawings—an-alternative-honeycomb-for-rolled-projects.pdf?sfvrsn=4

https://www.marac.info/assets/documents/marac_technical_leaflet_11.pdf

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One Response to Care and Preservation of our Architectural Heritage

  1. Sue Koetz says:

    This is a very interesting and insightful blog. Our organization rehabbed a 1920 building and many of the archival architectural documents were missing. One of our goals was to preserve as much of the original architecture as possible. Hats off to this blogger.

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