Conservation of a 1892 Brookline Railroad Celebration broadside

Before there was a Brookline Historical Society, this poster, after being passed down through several Brookline families, was given to the Brookline Public Library. It was in the library’s care and adorned one of its walls for about fifty years. The library has generously decided to donate it to the Historical Society, for inclusion in its collection of local railroad artifacts. The BHS is grateful to the library for this important donation.

Conservation of a 1892 Brookline Railroad Celebration poster

The 131 year old piece has weathered time quite well for its age, but it would benefit from some archival (read “expensive”) care. It is backed with conventional corrugated cardboard holding the poster weakly against the glass. The best practices would appear to include flattening the poster, treating the paper to reduce its acidity, matting the poster with archival acid-free mat around and behind it to hold it fast and to allow for a gap between it and the glass, museum quality glass to minimize glare and to filter harmful light rays. Then there’s framing.

Such work, done by experts like the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts, would likely cost in excess of $2000, based on our prior experience with them. However, using their guidelines, we have successfully used careful local framers for a much lower price. How far our conservation work on this important piece can go will depend on our resources.

If you would like to help support this project, please consider a donation to the Brookline Historical Society (a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization, federal tax ID # 02-0367428), Railroad Poster Conservation Campaign, PO Box 595, Brookline, NH, 03033. Thank you.