Martin Brückner presents at 2022 AIC Varnished Wall Map Symposium

Photo of map segments on tableConservation issues concerning nineteenth-century varnished wall maps present a complicated challenge for paper conservators. Oversized and materially complex compositions, wall maps can be found in virtually every archive and library collection in the United States, including in the private sector, and beckon to be treated and preserved. In September 2022, at the launch of a three-day symposium hosted by the New York Public Library Conservation Lab, Dr. Martin Brückner’s keynote lecture on the cultural significance of wall maps provided important historical and material context for objects that share similar formats; wall maps usually consist of multiple sheets of paper, are water-colored and lined with fabric backing, and come equipped with additional hardware like wooden rods or display gear. Eighteen attendees from all areas of the paper conservation field discussed conservation issues concerning varnished maps and conducted extensive experiments on how to remove varnish or map backings, address color compensation, and in general develop protocols for preserving historical map giants.