July 10, 2018

Suriname: Course on restoration in Paramaribo

The National Archives of the Netherlands and the National Archives of Curacao conducted a course on paper restoration at the National Archives of Suriname.

In the last week of January, Gabrielle Beentjes (National Archives of the Netherlands, NAN) and Valérie Martens-Monier (National Archives of Curaçao) conducted a 5-day course on paper restoration at the National Archives of Suriname (NAS). Within the framework of the Shared Cultural Heritage Programme, NAN and NAS work closely together to preserve and present archival collections concerning the heritage of both countries.

‘The more you know, the less you know’
Seven employees from NAS, two from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paramaribo and one from the Bureau for Civil Affairs in Suriname participated in the course. It started off with a survey of the condition of the archives stored in the NAS repositories to determine the nature and extent of any damage. Gaining more insight into forms of degradation and damage, the type of paper and the context of documents within their archive of origin is the first step in considering treatment choices. 

The attendees were trained to fabricate and use different types of adhesives and Japanese paper for mending tears and holes. After practicing on dummies, they start working on the restoration of the NAS archives, which sometimes suffer from severe damage. The participants – who received a certificate at the end of the week – were enthusiastic. ‘With the newly acquired knowledge on restoration methods, they have a better idea of their skills and what they do and do not know’, says Gabrielle Beentjes. If necessary, the trainers will provide further support off-site.