Conservation and restoration

Conservation, Restoration and Binding Laboratory

The Conservation, Restoration and Binding Laboratory was created in 1953 and upgraded in 1982 and its task is to preserve the documentary heritage of the Archivio Apostolico Vaticano from harmful chemical and physical agents and organisms. Hence, it controls and assesses the areas housing the archive fonds, the environmental and atmospheric conditions, the presence of harmful organisms, air quality and lighting, and it also selects appropriate fittings and protective cases. Furthermore, the Laboratory restores and binds the documentary heritage to preserve it for the future using methods and materials adopted by the most prestigious Italian and international institutes.
The customised, acid-free cardboard cases utilised to preserve the single items in the archives are made using a Kasemake KM503A plotter in a specialised department of the Conservation, Restoration and Binding Laboratory. To date about 52,000 customised, acid-free cardboard cases have been produced.

Seal Restoration and Conservation Laboratory

The Seal Restoration and Conservation laboratory was opened in 1980 and its primary objective is to preserve the invaluable collection of gold seals housed in the Archivio Apostolico Vaticano. The laboratory has honed its techniques over the years and today it focuses on the preservation and enhancement of the considerable sphragistic collection of the Archives. This collection can boast hundreds of thousands of seals in wax and sealing wax, paper and papered seals, golden and leaden bulla. The laboratory adopts targeted, customized, state-of-the-art techniques to restore the seals, restricting consolidating interventions to a minimum, and so far over five thousand pendant or applied seals have been restored.
The laboratory studies how to create systems to enhance preservation and care of the sphragistic collection, and also schedules seal conditioning interventions.