Works of Art on Paper

This workshop describes paper and its composition, and it covers significant dates in the history of papermaking. Both inherent and environmental agents of deterioration and their effects on the longevity of paper are covered. Examination and documentation procedures are discussed, and a wide range of preventive conservation topics, specifically addressing works of art on paper, is presented. Interventions including surface cleaning, repair and proper mounting of works are explored through demonstrations and hands-on sessions. Framing and glazing materials are also introduced.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • identify types of paper and different drawing materials and printing materials
  • understand and identify agents of deterioration and their effects on paper objects
  • carry out proper handling, examination and documentation procedures
  • implement preventive conservation procedures
  • surface clean, repair and mount paper objects


Composition and identification

Description of paper and how it is made, along with some of the significant dates in the history of papermaking. Comparison of the characteristics of various types of paper. Basic information relating to different artists' materials and techniques.


Deterioration of cellulose and how this affects the longevity of paper. Inherent agents of deterioration in the paper manufacturing process. Common external agents of deterioration. Signs of deterioration.

Handling, examination and documentation

Proper handling techniques for loose works, matted works and framed art on paper. Removal of artwork from a frame. Examination of works of art on paper. Condition reports.

Preventive conservation

Preventive conservation and its role in the preservation of cultural heritage. Presentation and description of a wide range of preventive conservation topics (specifically addressing the preservation concerns of works of art on paper whenever possible): light, environmental conditions, security, fire protection, handling, maintenance, storage, exhibition, packing and transit, pest management, and disaster preparedness and response.


Preventive conservation interventions, including surface cleaning, making wheat starch paste, minor tear repair, and matting and hanging works of art on paper. Framing and glazing materials for works of art on paper. Demonstrations and hands-on sessions.

Target audience

Museum and gallery staff, volunteers, curators responsible for works of art on paper and artists.


Crystal Maitland


English (written materials available in both official languages)

Enrollment limits

Minimum 10, maximum 18


Two days

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