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Bare Hands Note


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Whenever parchment was handled, it was done so carefully by experienced conservators who made sure to have very clean hands. While gloves are often worn when handling artwork and items of high value, there are some instances when gloves can be a detriment to safe handling because they can inhibit tactile ability and manual dexterity. The edges of some of the Charters documents are very fragile, and conservators often worked without gloves to ensure that the parchment sheets were handled with the greatest care and caution. It is sometimes hard for gloved fingers to lift an edge or a small object. Even though gloves were not always worn when working on the Charters documents, other techniques were used to protect their surfaces. A small blotter square was often used as a barrier between fingers or hands and the documents. The inked areas were never touched with anything but a soft fine brush. And when it was necessary to turn a document over, it was held securely between sheets of blotter.—Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler

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