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Saturday, June 1 • 2:30pm - 3:00pm
(Book and Paper) Conservation and Encasement: 1297 Magna Carta

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Interest in sealed anoxic encasements for long-term preservation has grown in the past few decades, particularly in the United States where a number of encasements house some of the nation’s most historically significant parchment and paper documents. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently completed an eighteen month project to encase a 1297 Magna Carta. The parchment document with attached pendant seal had been placed in an encasement designed by Nathan Stolow in 1980s, shortly after it was purchased and brought to the United States. Soon thereafter, Magna Carta was placed on long-term loan for display at the National Archives building in Washington D.C. where it was on almost continuous display. A team of NARA conservation and exhibitions staff partnered with staff of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a state-of-the-art anoxic encasement, for the one of two copies of Magna Carta held outside of the United Kingdom and the only copy in the Americas.

The collaborative effort provided an opportunity to revisit the exacting standards developed by the two federal agencies during the late 1990s and early 2000s for the encasement of the United States Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, and adapt them to the unique needs of Magna Carta. The resulting encasement ensures long-term stability of the document and meets additional requirements for security and exhibition.

This paper will discuss various aspects of this project including a brief overview of the history of this particular copy of Magna Carta including its 1980s encasement. However, the authors’ primary focus will be on the 2011 and 2012 conservation treatment, as well as the design, fabrication, and assembly of the new encasement.


Terry Boone

Exhibits Conservatior, National Archives and Records Administration

Morgan Zinsmeister

Senior Conservator, National Archives
Morgan Zinsmeister specializes in the treatment of historic American manuscripts and printed documents from the 17th through mid-19th centuries, and art on paper. He is currently a senior conservator at the National Archives in Washington, DC and also operates a freelance practice... Read More →

Saturday June 1, 2013 2:30pm - 3:00pm EDT
JW Marriott White River Ballroom E 10 S West St Indianapolis, IN 46204

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