Saving Moldy Posters

Dear Donia,
How do I save old posters from mold?

Old poster

Q. Dear Donia,

I have very old posters that were rolled and put inside poster tubes to protect them and then put inside a chest. My basement at the time was damp and musty but I thought my items would be protected. Unfortunately, my efforts did not protect them from all the mold and mildew. Please help! Thanks, Trina

A. Dear Trina,

I am sorry to hear about your posters. If the posters themselves have gotten moldy, I am afraid that there is not much that you yourself could do to them. Mold is difficult to work with on paper and can be bad for your own health.

If the posters only smell like mildew and you can safely get them out of the tubes they are in, you can try removing them and wrapping them in MicroChamber interleaving paper available through Conservation Resources. The standard paper size is more cost effective but you can use multiple pieces to wrap the poster.

Finally, if the posters are important to you, you could contact a conservator. Unfortunately, the closest to you is in the Twin Cities but you can ship if you feel comfortable. You can find these conservators by consulting the American Institute for Conservation's "Find a Conservator" page. Simply put in your zip code and select a specialty (in this instance you would pick "Book and Paper"). 

Good luck!