The Archives primarily deals with paper documents. Paper is composed of organic materials which deteriorate with the passage of time. Documents printed on modern paper often contain bleaches and other chemicals which can speed up this deterioration. Similarly photographs and film often contain chemical traces left over from processing which can cause deterioration. Many old documents come to us in a fragile or damaged condition that are impacted by insects, water, fire, old age, human errors, or other natural effect.
Therefore, when documents or photographs are selected for preservation, it is important that they are treated to neutralize harmful chemical residues, and restore and conserve damage caused by human errors and natural effects to prevent from further degradation and ensure their long term preservation.
Following are the different types of conservation of paper documents that the Archives carry out:
- Preventive conservation: Any direct or indirect action on a damaged or undamaged paper document aimed at enhancing the life of the paper document by reducing future risk of deterioration can be term as preventive conservation. For example; regular inspection of the condition of a collection,
- Curative conservation: Any direct action on a damaged paper document aimed at stopping active deterioration in the paper document can be term as curative conservation. For example; fumigation of a paper document collection that has live insects in it.
- Restorative conservation: Any direct action on a damaged paper document aimed at improving the visual aspect of the paper document can be termed as restoration. For example; removing pencil marks from the document surface, or the filling up of a lost part of the paper document.
Appropriated conservation treatment is done using scientific methods as per condition of the artifact. Paper artifacts such as manuscripts, bound books, scrolls, receipts, decrees and other valuable paper heritage are among conservation items.