Safely Displaying Fragile, Brittle Newspapers

Dear Donia,
How can I safely display fragile, brittle newspapers?

brittle newspaper


Q. Dear Donia,

I recently just received a set of newspapers that are about 80 years old and so fragile that even turning the page can break off pieces. I'm wondering how I can safely set up these newspapers for display in a frame as well glue the torn pieces back together. I would also like to clean them too or slightly dust them but I'm afraid I'll tear them even more. Thanks, Sarah

A. Dear Sarah,

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do for newsprint once it has gotten brittle. Repairing brittle newspaper is difficult as the paper simply breaks anew at the edge of your repair. The same problem occurs when you try to do any sort of mounting in order to display the newspaper. By hinging the paper to hold upright, you will get breaking along the hinge. Cleaning also leads to new tearing unless all you do is take s soft brush to the surface and keep away from any breaks in the paper so you don't catch the brush hairs in the crack and break a piece off.

The best thing you can do is to digitize the newspaper and use the digital print for display. That is about all you can really do for brittle newspaper I am afraid.