Preservation and Restoration of Films and Paper Documents After Their Exposure to Extreme Environmental Conditions: Case Study of the Historical Archive of the Communist Party of Greece

  • Mavrantonis PanagiotisEmail author
  • Zoumpoulakis Loukas
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Materials book series (SPM)


Thousands of people, agents, institutions and scientists from around the globe demonstrated their interest, fought against the mud and the time for not missing a single page of the Historical Archive of Communist Party of Greece (CPG) after a big flood. Fungi are growing in wet paper with accelerating pace. The building of the Central Committee was transformed in a large cleansing laboratory for removing the mud and drying the paper. The most challenging difficulty from the very first days was the volume of the material in need for rescue. In a short interval, the battle against time and fungi took place not to miss a single page. At the same time, the huge inexperience of dealing with catastrophes of such size was prevalent too. The steps were followed according to the bibliography [1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 25, 26]: Placing the ‘muddy’ material into low temperature fridges to cease the accelerating speedy development of the mould, gradual cleansing of the material from the mud and other litter, drying the material, decontamination-sterilization in special closets of 25 m3, space configuration with humidity and temperature conditions defined by the international literature and placement of the dried material, chemical treatment (De-acidification–Neutralization), solidification and restoration with the use of Japanese preservation papers, placement of the material into folders and boxes with antacid – antifungal protection and special environment conditions, computerization and electronic storage (digitalization). The preservation and restoration laboratory that was created is not only providing precautionary and substantial preservation of the archival material but also checking the process of the implemented methods. The slowing-down of its chemical downgrade is the primary target [16, 20, 21]. Securing stable humidity and temperature conditions defined by the international literature was the first big step for the future physicochemical course of the material [1, 4, 6, 13, 27].

The above conditions are contributing at different levels to the non decomposition of cellulose.

The checking of the processes in accordance with the time is required, because the longevity of the archival material is a direct function of the stability of the preservation conditions and of the successful physicochemical methods that are implemented. For the first time there is control of the processed and non - archival material with Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) – micro-analysis Energy Dispersive Spectrometer, (EDS) and through X-Ray Diffraction (XRD). We believe that this will contribute to the further deepening of the factors conducing to the decomposition of the cellulose chain, as well as to the better searching of the various chemical actions’ mechanism that lead archives, libraries and museums to destruction. At the same time, the digitalization of the archive and the minimal – only absolutely necessary - use of the original material provide today the best conditions for its future physicochemical course.


Communist Party of Greece (CPG) Historical archive of the CPG Conservation of paper 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NTUAZografou AthinaGreece
  2. 2.Chemical Engineering School of NTUAZografou AthinaGreece

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