19th Annual Preservation Conference

19th Annual Preservation Conference

Refer to Caption Close-up of conservator working on the Constitution of the United States. Learn More about: Preservation & Conservation The Charters of Freedom

Parchment and Titanium: Preserving the Charters of Freedom

Held Thursday, September 22, 2005
National Archives At College Park
Auditorium and Conference Rooms

The 2005 Preservation Conference focused on the multi-year, state of the art project undertaken by the National Archives (NARA) to preserve and re-encase our nation's most treasured documents — the Charters of Freedom. The Charters include the:

The conference addressed issues of interest to archivists, historians, conservators, librarians, museum curators, exhibit designers and preservation specialists.

Conference Theme

The conservation, preservation and re-encasement of the Charters of Freedom.


  • History of the Charters of Freedom

  • The history of encasements for preservation storage and display

  • The design, fabrication and testing of a modern encasement

  • The challenges of managing a multi-year interagency preservation project

  • What conservation staff learned during examination and treatment of the Charters

  • The fully accessible Rotunda and new display criteria for the Charters

  • Meeting the challenge to preserve the nation's best known and valued historical documents

  • Lessons learned, new technologies and applications for the field


History and Context of the Charters of Freedom Documents PowerPoint presentation

Dr. Milton O. Gustafson
Chief, Diplomatic Branch (retired NARA)

Encasement History, Theory, and Use as a Preservation Tool PowerPoint presentation

Don Etherington
Etherington Conservation Services

NBS Encasements:   History and Examinations Prior to Disassembly

Margaret Ann T. Kelly
Research Chemist, Document Conservation Laboratory (NARA)

Dr. Charles R. Tilford
Consulting Physicist – Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology

New Encasement Design Criteria

Norvell Jones
Chief, Document Conservation Laboratory (retired NARA)

Managing the Inter-Institutional, Multi-Year Re-Encasement Project PowerPoint presentation

Richard P. Judson
Project Manager, Space and Security Management Division (NARA)

Encasement Fabrication and Testing:   Processes and Innovations PowerPoint presentation

Richard L. Rhorer
Mechanical Engineer, Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Design and Production of Paper for the New Encasements PowerPoint presentation

Timothy Barrett
Paper Specialist and Research Scientist
University of Iowa Center for the Book

The Charters of Freedom Documents:   Examination and Treatment

Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler
Chief, Document Conservation Laboratory (NARA)

Catherine Nicholson
Supervisory Conservator, Document Conservation Laboratory (NARA)

Display Criteria:   Access, Lighting and Aesthetics

Christina Rudy Smith
Head of Exhibits, Museum Programs (NARA)

Michael L. Jackson
Senior Exhibition Designer, Museum Programs (NARA)