Texas General Land Office, Map Project
Many large scale maps have been treated in the Carrabba Conservation laboratory. Funded by generous donations, maps belonging to the General Land Office are currently being treated, digitized, and carefully rehoused.
The Texas General Land Office has maps dating back to the colonial period before the Texas achieved statehood in 1836. These historic maps have been subject to wear over time. Some are original line drawings on mapping paper backed to linen, while others are sketches of sections of land. Lithographs were made of every map and other areas. Many of these treasures are fading, the paper is disintegrating and our Texas heritage is being lost. Carrabba Conservation is conserving the deteriorating maps and prepare them for the Land Office, who then preserves the information in a digital format so that the maps are accessible to all. For more information about the General Land Office Save Texas History™ program and to purchase map reproductions click here.
Due to age and continual use, the maps are soiled, discolored, torn, cracked, and in need of meticulous treatment. The linen with which these maps were lined for support have begun to disintegrate. Carrabba Conservation is surface cleaning the pieces with eraser crumbs, brushes and blocks to remove soiling and dust from years of handling. After the map is cleaned, inks are tested for water solubility and the map is ready to be washed. The paper is gradually humidified and introduced to water with a fine mist. Once moist, the paper relaxes and linings can be peeled off. The map is then blotter washed, a lengthy process by which a series of wet blotters is used to wick out yellowing and embedded dirt. Once the map is sufficiently cleaned the maps are lined with an archival lightweight Kitakata paper and a heavyweight Okawara paper. The map is then dried under weights to flatten over a period of days, housed in large individual Mylar D files for safe handling, and returned to the client for digitization.