How is it that paper well over one thousand years old survives in good condition in an ancient Japanese storehouse while last week's newspaper left out in the sun soon resembles a dry autumn leaf? Paper is both amazingly strong and incredibly fragile. The ability of paper to survive is dependent upon the materials and methods of its fabrication and the environmental conditions to which it is subjected.
Paper is extremely vulnerable to damage from environmental factors such as light, extremes in temperature and relative humidity, and air-borne pollutants. Water damage, with attendant mold growth, can be disastrous. Inappropriate handling can cause tears and result in the deposition of dirt, grime, and fingerprints. Acidic housing and framing embrittle and discolor paper artifacts. Well-intended but inappropriate mending with pressure sensitive tapes can permanently stain and damage paper. Because the image or design found on a work on paper - be it drawn, painted, written, or printed - is so closely and inextricably bound to the paper support, the character and condition of the paper are critical to the artifact.
The staff of the Paper Conservation Laboratory of the Midwest Art Conservation Center has the extensive professional experience to identify and treat the wide range of damages found in paper based materials. MACC provides conservation services for a broad range of artifacts including: drawings, watercolors and gouaches, pastels, Japanese wood block prints, collages, Native American ledger drawings and books, etchings, engravings, lithographs and screenprints.