Map in Need of Help

Yesterday my dad showed me a beautiful 1913 plat map of Forest Hills Gardens, which belonged to my grandfather, a long time of the Forest Hills Garden Corporation. My dad’s half of the family has long ties to Forest Hills Gardens, so the map means a great deal to us. However, it is not in great condition and could certainly use some help.

Linen paper map.

I believe the map is drawn on linen paper (but correct me if I’m wrong). See sections of damage in the pictures below.

Paper deterioration.

Cracks in the paper.

Damage in the center of the map.

As you can see, further deterioration will severely affect the map's readability.

I am not a paper conservator by any means or practice, and while I will look up solutions, I was wondering if one of you, readers, would have some professional or tried and true advice on how to deal with such an object. I also do not have a fortune to spend, so wallet friendly suggestions are helpful. I’d love to have the map conserved and framed. Right now it rolls up and stays in a cardboard tube, which I imagine is how my grandfather received it.

Readers, if you could help, that would be wonderful. Thank you! Let me know if you need larger images. I’ll get back to you with anything I find about paper conservation.

11 thoughts on “Map in Need of Help

  1. Erica says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about this map, it is actually in great condition for its age! The best thing you can do it preserve it as is. If you have room to store it flat that would be great, but you can also get some acid-free storage containers for rolled documents from places like Gaylord or University Products. It really depends on what you plan to do with it.

      • Erica says:

        Getting it scanned is also an excellent idea. I’m not sure of your location, but sometimes local archives have the necessary scanning equipment to do large maps. You may want to contact your state archives and see if that is a service they offer (sometimes it can get really pricey).

    • Kaitlin says:

      Thanks, but it’s a bit large (imagine half of my parents’ dining room table) and I’m not sure I trust the mail to get something to you! (Not after the last package anyway.)

  2. Tod says:

    If you can’t get it scanned, try photographing it with the highest resolution digital camera (preferably full frame) you can find.

  3. Sabra Smith says:

    Turn up at your local architecture office, tell them of your hopes and dreams and pursuit of historic preservation (give them a Preservation in Pink business card) and sigh…. “do you know anywhere I could get this wonderful map from my grandfather scanned?” sigh…. smile….. And I’ll bet they can help you out for either little or no cost.

    As for the repairs you’d like… poke around this site and you might even want to email someone with a question or two. I toured the place a few years ago and they do amazing work and are wonderful.

  4. foresthillsgardens says:

    Hi, Kaitlin–I am actually a Forest Hills Gardens resident, and I’m very excited to see your map! I see that the posts on this page are quite old, and I’m wondering if, by any chance, you ever did get to scan this map. I am certain that the community could use an e-copy, if you could share it. Please let me know!

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