The challenge of displaying the Great Parchment Book

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Conservator Caroline De Stefani writes: Mounting and displaying the folio of the Great Parchment Book for the exhibition in Derry Guildhall presented some challenges due to its condition. Owing to the severe fire and water damage it was very difficult to find a suitable, stable and secure display method for such distorted, rigid and yet fragile material.

Display of GPB in Derry Nov 2013

The least invasive, but firm way to mount the folio was on a Perspex® sheet with v-shaped Melinex® tabs. These tabs gently secure the folio on the Perspex® surface greatly reducing the movement of the folio during the opening and closing of the drawer in which the folio is displayed. One side of the Melinex® has double sided tape which allows firm adhesion of the v-shaped Melinex® to the Perspex®. This method avoids using adhesive directly on the document.

For all the other LMA items on display, mainly volumes, we produced our in-house book supports which were assembled on site. The volumes were then strapped on the supports by means of inert polyester strips.

During installation, the environmental conditions (such as light level, temperature and relative humidity) in the gallery were checked and adjusted to meet the best conditions for the items. For the entire duration of the exhibition we are in contact with the curator who is providing us with regular updates on the physical condition of the documents and the environmental conditions in the exhibition area.

One thought on “The challenge of displaying the Great Parchment Book

  1. Great to have explanation as I was surprised that such a fragile object was displayed in a drawer and therefore subjected to some form of pressure each time the drawer was pulled in and out.

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