Deacidification

»Large-scale project for Deacidification of Moravian magazines, Daily Texts and publications on Moravian missions in the Unity Archives«

 

Grants by the Federal Government for the preservation of written cultural heritage
The Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) in Germany, Monika Grütters, has allotted funding totalling 2.5 Million Euros in 2018 for the preservation of written cultural heritage on the basis of the recommendations submitted by the Office for the Coordination of the Preservation of Written Cultural Heritage (KEK) 2015. The recommendations provide an assessment of the damage and dangers presented by acidity, mold and organic pests to the holdings in archives and libraries in Germany. In particular, rapidly advancing acidity threatens to destroy a large portion of our cultural memory. In order to effectively counteract this problem, specific fields of work for the rescue of our written cultural heritage were identified across all segments and in all regions, whereby libraries and archives of the federal states, municipalities and other institutions, such as churches and foundations, can receive 50% financing of projects such as large-scale deacidification, dry cleaning or packaging.

Acidic decay
Acidic paper is present everywhere - including in the Unity Archives. In contrast to durable rag paper, which ages very slowly under favorable conditions, the decomposition processes in acidic paper are greatly accelerated, resulting in the paper become yellowed and brittle. The reasons for these phenomena lie in the period when paper production became industrialized. With the invention of acidic resin glue by M.F. Illig (1806) and the turning of wood into pulp by F.G. Keller (1844), one could meet the rapidly growing demand for paper by means of industrial production, but the paper had a large acid content, which accelerates aging and the paper's disintegration. Paper from circa 1850-1980 is one of the least durable products in the history of paper-making and is threatened with massive decay.

The Funding Application of the Unity Archives Herrnhut
For a long time, the search has been on for ways to preserve for posterity the heavily damaged collection of Moravian magazines in the Unity Archives. The same applies to the collection of Daily Texts and the numerous publications on Moravian missions. For this reason, a funding application for these stocks was prepared in the spring of 2018 and submitted to the KEK in the summer. Among the applications approved in September 2018 was that of the Unity Archives with approval of the State Conservation Agency in Saxony. The deacidification commissioned by the center for the preservation of books (ZFB) in Leipzig is scheduled to start in December 2018 and be completed in January 2019. The Moravian Church, which contributes 50% of its own resources, wants to make an important contribution to the preservation of the religious and cultural heritage in Saxony and beyond.