Dry Cleaning the City’s Oldest MapsBreaking News
The tables in the basement of the Municipal Archives are covered with household staples: cotton swabs, tweezers, food strainers, measuring cups, ashtrays and other materials.
None are items that one would expect to find in a professional art conservation laboratory. But they are tools used by a group of government workers who wash and care for some of the oldest existing maps and architectural drawings of New York City. They call themselves “dry cleaners.”
“It’s like being a tailor, but a tailor for paper,” said Pauline Toole, commissioner of the city’s Department of Records and Information Services, which oversees the archives at 31 Chambers Street — what was once the Hall of Records, but is now the Surrogate’s Courthouse.
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