16th Annual Preservation Conference

(March 27, 2001)

2001, A Case Oddity: Preserving the Physical Evidence of Artifacts and Records

March 27, 2001

National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD

The National Archives and Records Administration's Annual Preservation Conferences cover topics on the creation, use, exhibition, care-and-handling, conservation, duplication, and long-term storage of information on paper, film, tape, and disk. The 2001 conference brought together forensic and conservation scientists, archivists, and conservators to discuss technical issues related to the preservation and handling of artifacts and records which have been or may be subjected to forensic examinations.

Presentations covered the science of fingerprint, firearms, and biological materials examinations, focusing in particular on the issues of potential hazard, deterioration, and preservation of evidential value with respect to affected artifacts and records in archival custody. Discussions of custodial, preservation, conservation treatment, and curatorial issues regarding evidential holdings were highlighted by the presentations of illustrative case studies. Topics included:

  • examples/case studies
  • handling and preserving fingerprinted documents and artifacts
  • firearms and ammunition, and other wood or metal artifacts
  • blood, body fluids, and other biological materials
  • custodial issues
  • preservation responsibilities
  • conservation issues


Introduction: What's This Stuff Doing Here, Anyway?

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

Handling and Preserving Fingerprinted Documents and Artifacts

Mr. Robert S. Ramotowski, Research Chemist, Forensic Services Division, United States Secret Service

Preservation of Firearms, Ammunition, and Other Wood or Metal Artifacts

Martin Burke, Associate Manager, Conservation, National Park Service

Handling and Preserving Biological Materials, Including Documents and Artifacts Bearing Blood or Other Body Fluids

Melissa A. Smrz, Unit Chief, DNA Unit II, Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory

Custodial Issues Regarding Artifacts and Records Retained As Evidence

Steven D. Tilley, Chief, Special Access and Freedom of Information Staff, NARA

Preservation Responsibilities Regarding Evidential Holdings

Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Supervisory Conservator, Document Conservation Laboratory, NARA

Conservation Treatment Issues: When Damage Tells A Story

Jane E. Klinger, Chief Conservator, U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Curatorial Case Study: The Kennewick Man

Michael K. Trimble, Chief, Curation and Archives, and
Natalie M. Drew, Archivist, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers