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Maria Martin's Drawings
Chemical treatment processes involved in the conservation of Maria Martin Bachman's drawings.

The treatment of these drawings would begin with surface cleaning of the paper. This involves using soft brushes to sweep away loose dirt and mold residue, followed by grated white vinyl erasers gently rubbed over the surface. The next step would begin by "fixing" any water-soluble colors with B-72 (Ethyl methacrylate copolymer) dissolved in xylene, to protect them during aqueous treatments. The drawing could then be washed in water with a small amount of ethanol to help "wet" the paper evenly. Washing paper will remove much of the acidic components so damaging to paper fibers, most of the products of the natural deterioration process as well as finer particles of dirt and soot. Many visible stains on the surface of the paper will disappear or be reduced. More stubborn stains could be further reduced using calcium hypochlorite or hydrogen peroxide, both of which must be thoroughly rinsed out the paper . As part of the aqueous phase of the process, the paper can be deacidified with the addition of calcium hydroxide to the water. For any drawings that are not washed, deacidification can be accomplished by spraying with magnesium oxide dissolved in a liquid perflourocarbon carrier. Both processes will leave the paper fibers alkaline which will protect them against future acidic attack. After drying and flattening between blotting paper, the drawings would be repaired in the most appropriate manner.

Hands on classroom activities:
Spot Testing
Deacidification of Valuable Papers