Document Restorer

Put damaged documents back together.

What does a Document Restorer do?

Just because something on a page may seem lost, erased, or washed away by time or perhaps by floodwaters doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. As a Document Restorer, you take pieces of history, whether as ancient as the pyramids or as recent as last week, and reconstruct them to their original glory.

Sometimes Document Restorers work with personal documents after a house is flooded or burned. If anything remains of old photos, birth certificates, and wills, it will more than likely be damaged to the point of illegibility-and that’s where you, the Document Restorer, comes in.

If you’re dealing water damage, you start by drying documents using air-drying techniques, dehumidification, or freeze-drying to get paper back to its original state. For both water and flame destruction, you use chemical compounds to remove dirt, stains, and sometimes ash. Not everything can be rescued, but even partial reconstruction is better than being tossed in the trash.

However, you may use different techniques when working with decaying antique archives and aged scrolls. Removing smudges and obstructions from words or illustrations is the first step, but you go even further, using chemicals to distinguish hard-to-read ink, and deacidification baths to remove acidity from the paper. Each step requires a steady hand and a patient eye for detail. One finger in the wrong place and you could smudge out a whole sentence, lost forever.

If all your dedicated labors are successful, you have one last responsibility: preservation. Archives are laminated in cellulose acetate film and filed away outside the reach of humidity, old books are rebound with more modern and durable materials, and important artifacts are kept in museums in temperature-controlled cases. Once you’ve brought a document back from the dead, you have a responsibility to make sure it’s never lost again.