I put a map in a frame. The paper is buckling behind the glass. Is it because of damp? How can I get the map to lie flat again?
When I see buckling in a piece of paper that’s been framed, my first thought is that the paper hasn’t got enough space in the frame to expand and contract in response to fluctuations in room humidity. I’d also suspect that the air in the room might be a little too humid. Often we can see tiny yellowish-brown dots if there’s been condensation on the back of the glass. In the worst cases, we also see mould.
We have several methods for making paper flat – or flatter – again. The method we choose will depend on the nature of the work and whether there’s a particularly sensitive medium on its surface. To find out whether this is the case, we conduct tests before starting treatment. Then we’ll introduce dampness in a slow and controlled manner and then put the work in a press.
Without knowing more about your map, it’s a bit difficult for me to advise whether you should go ahead on your own or contact a private conservator. But I’d recommend doing the latter.
Once the map has been treated, I’d obtain a larger frame with a spacer. This will prevent the map from being in direct contact with the glass and it will also give it more space. I might also hang the map in a different place where the conditions are more stable. For example, I’d avoid hanging it on an exterior wall in a draughty passage, or other similar locations.
Kind regards from Alexandra, paper conservator
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