Library and Archives Canada
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Preservation Activities

Past Events


Opening of the Centre

Library and Archives Canada Preservation Centre
(formerly the National Archives of Canada)

June 4, 1997 marked the official opening of the Library and Archives Canada Preservation Centre in Gatineau. After years of careful planning and construction, the National Archives of Canada was ready to show its new state-of-the-art facility to the world. Dedicated to preserving Canada’s archival heritage, the Preservation Centre provides optimum storage environments for documents and advanced laboratory installations for preservation treatment, copying and related activities.

The public was invited to an open house at the Preservation Centre on the weekend of June 7-8, 1997. National Archives staff enthusiastically provided tours and information to visitors, and a variety of special events and activities were staged to entertain young and old. Over 10,000 visitors took advantage of this unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at our facilities and archival treasures.

Workshop on the Care and Treatment of Portrait Miniatures

Professional Development Workshop
Oct 15-19th, 2007

This five-day workshop, presented by Library and Archives Canada in collaboration with the Portrait Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Conservation Institute and Queen's University addressed the history, manufacture, care, and treatment of portrait miniatures.

This workshop was made possible through the support of the Getty Foundation.

Mr. Alan Derbyshire, Head of Paper, Book, and Paintings Conservation section at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, England), and an expert in this specialized field, delivered the workshop with assistance from Ms. Maria Bedynski , Senior Conservator of Works of Art on Paper, LAC.

The workshop program included:

  • Lectures on the history, manufacture, and conservation of portrait miniatures
  • Practical session on handling, examination, condition reporting, and surveying of miniatures
  • Practical session on painting portrait miniatures
  • Practical sessions on treatment techniques on portrait miniatures.
  • Practical session on care of lockets, cases, and enclosures
  • ½ day visit to the Canadian Conservation Institute.

The History and Treatments of Works with Iron Gall Ink

Advanced Professional Development Workshop
February 21-23, 2005

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) provided a three-day workshop on the history and treatment of works containing iron gall ink for the professional development of conservators and collection managers.

The workshop was delivered in English at the LAC Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec. It permitted:

  • Lectures on iron gall ink recipes, composition, analysis, and degradation
  • Preparation of iron gall ink using a historical recipe
  • Examination of artifacts (UV light, iron (II) test, Multi-Spectral Imaging System (MuSIS))
  • Condition rating of artifacts with iron gall ink (using protocol developed by the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage)
  • Lecture on various treatments for ink-corroded paper objects and their short- and long-term effects
  • Discussion of treatment options for selected artifacts
  • Lecture on simmering water treatment for a 19th-century sketchbook of iron gall ink drawings
  • Lecture on the effect of simmering on the chemical and mechanical properties of paper
  • Practice paper simmering, calcium phytate treatment
  • Practice mechanical stabilization of ink-corroded works (re-moistenable tissue, Klucel G coated tissue)
  • Practice a survey technique for collections with iron gall ink

The instructors were: Maria Bedynski, paper conservator, LAC; Season Tse, conservation scientist, CCI; Sherry Guild, paper conservator, CCI.

Basics of Chemistry for Books and Graphic Document Conservators

Professional Development Workshop
October 18-24, 2004

A course on chemistry basics for books and graphic document conservators, organized by the Books and Records Laboratory of LAC was held at the Gatineau Preservation Centre from October 18 to 24, 2004.

This training course was given (in French) by Léon-Bavi Vilmont, chemist from the Centre de Recherches sur la Conservation des Documents Graphiques (CRCDG), Paris, France and conservation instructor at the Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

The program was divided into two parts: theoretical and practical.

  • Introduction
  • Structure of materials; definition: atoms, molecules, polymers; chemical formula. Basics of ionization
  • Causes of materials degradations (Energy, light and environment)
  • Construction, chemical composition, causes of degradation and tests for paper
  • Construction, chemical composition, causes of degradation for leather and parchment materials. Tests.
  • Broad groups: natural polymers, synthetic polymers
  • Structure, properties, pH notion
  • Definition and generalities: solvents nomenclature. Volatility. Viscosity
  • Health and safety: flammability, flash points, explosion risks, toxicity
  • Spot testing: interest and limits
  • Physicochemical analysis techniques: UV visible spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy, chromatography (thin-layer, liquid phase, gaseous phase), mass spectrometry

Japanese Paper Conservation Techniques Workshop

Professional Development Workshop
June 17th - 27th, 2002

The National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Conservation Institute presented a ten-day workshop on Japanese paper conservation techniques for the professional development of conservators.

Summary of the Workshop

The instructor was Kazunori Oryu, Oriental Paintings Conservator and Associate Professor, Kyoto University of Art and Design, Japan.

The ten-day workshop combined intensive hands-on sessions with demonstrations, guest lectures, and group discussions. The language of instruction was English.

The Principal Topics were:

  • Japanese papers and their use in conservation
  • Japanese conservation tools and techniques
  • construction and use of a karibari (Japanese drying screen)
  • Japanese techniques for the preparation and assembling of paper sheets
  • Japanese repair and lining techniques
  • Preparation and use of various pastes, bamboo tools, etc.
  • The workshop was open to paper conservators with a minimum of three years of practical experience working in archives, libraries and museum collections. Enrolment is limited to 15 participants.