Restored History in Rice Library

While we were on spring break something quite exciting was happening in David L. Rice Library! There was an unveiling of a newly-restored map of Evansville dating back to 1914! The map’s new location is directly across from the information wall on the first floor, next to the scanner. But what is so special about this map and why should you take time to observe it?

About five years ago, Jennifer Greene, Head of the Rice Library Archives, came across this map. It had been rescued from the Evansville City Hall by a couple of retired professors. The map was not in good shape when Ms. Greene found it. It had deteriorated and was beginning to crack, and had years of soot build-up (accumulated from being placed near a coal-burning furnace). It was in such bad shape that when Ms. Greene unrolled the map she decided it could not be rolled up again. Ms. Greene thought that this map, if restored, would be a unique item to display somewhere in the library.

Moving forward, the map was taken to Guy Davis, who owns and operates the Snodgrass and Davis Studio in Indianapolis, to begin the restoration process. I spoke to Mr. Davis on the phone and he explained to me that the map was in poor shape when he received it, and then walked me through the process he took to restore the it. The steps he took are as follows:

  1. Remove the flaking with an adhesive material
  2. Coat the entire map with a compound to prepare it for a new backing
  3. Clean the entire map to free it of any accumulated grime
  4. Build a structural mount for the map, including filtering plexiglass that will protect the map from any UV rays and preserve it for years to come

This entire process took about 60 hours to complete. The amount of work that was put into restoring this map is astonishing and it has paid off. The map looks good as new and will be a great addition to Rice Library.

Be sure to stop by and admire this new piece of history on the first floor!

Read on,

Austin Viano

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