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Friday, June 1 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
06. (Book and Paper) Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Treatment of a board game with iron corrosion

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While trained to work with different types of materials, conservators are sometimes presented with composite objects that are outside their area of expertise. The Newberry Library has some unusual board games in their collection that aren’t always made out of materials a book conservator is accustomed to. The Newberry recently acquired the 1955 board game Mt. Everest that includes a 3-dimentional folding mountain for the game board, designed so that magnets in the playing pieces stick to the board as the players “climb” the mountain. While this was an innovative idea at the time, the long term consequences of layering an iron sheet in the middle of the board were not considered. Now that the iron in the board is rusty, the board is delicate. The mountain is flaking apart at the corners and appears to have staining due to chemical reactions between the paper and iron. Stains are also present in portions of the box that were in contact with the board. The presence of iron precludes treatment with water as migration of iron ions would be detrimental over time, and the board would not survive an attempt to wash and chelate the rusted metal. Book and paper conservators usually work with iron in the form of iron gall ink or impurities left in the paper from contaminated water. While many lessons are transferable to this situation, most of the treatment procedures are not. Local objects conservators with experience working with metallic iron will be consulted for their experience treating corroded iron. The Newberry’s mission is to preserve items while also making them accessible to the public in the reading room. Particularly delicate items are more difficult to treat because they may be used more than would be ideal for their preservation. The condition of the board prevents patrons from assembling the original mountain without damage. In order to preserve the original, a facsimile will be created using archival materials so that library users can still get an idea of how the game was designed. The poster will focus on the tradeoffs between the need to preserve the game and allow researchers to experience the game using as many of the original components as possible. It will also explain the treatment conducted on the original (incorporating collaborative expertise) and the methods and materials used in constructing the facsimile.

Friday June 1, 2018 3:30pm - 4:00pm MDT
Texas Ballroom (Foyer outside Ballrooms - Poster Session) Marriott Marquis Houston