Preserving an Important Piece of Coquitlam’s Past
Time is not always kind to historical documents. By the time the City of Coquitlam Archives was founded in 2013, the 1894 Letters Patent had deteriorated to a point that it was no longer safe to view or handle them.
There were extensive tears and cracks, the second page had been completely torn in half, the paper had become acidic and brittle, and both pages had suffered extensive tape damage along the tears. In some cases, the discolouration from the tape stains made it impossible to read the text.
With a view to stabilizing and preserving this important document, the Letters Patent were sent to a local conservation firm for treatment. The conservators performed dry surface cleaning, tape stain reduction, washing, alkalization, humidification and flattening, and lining. Thanks to the conservation treatment, the document can now be safely stored, handled, and examined. The paper has increased flexibility and support, making it less likely to crack and break. The tears were repaired and the harmful acidity was neutralized to slow the natural aging process.