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Course Detail

Course Name Manuscript Conservation
Course Code 22SC804


Module 1: Conservation and its developments in Modern India

Introduction to conservation and its developments in Modern India, developments of conservation in post independence period. National Museum institute, NRLC, INTACH, national and state level museums. Archeological survey of India. Oriential Manuscripts library : aim, significances and functions. Nation mission for manuscripts.

Module 2: Manuscripts

Paper – handmade paper, development of paper in Modern India, types of paper and its properties, Physical and chemical requirements for the quality of paper, copper number. Different varieties of ink, effect of ink on paper, behavior of ink with time. Enemies of documentary wealth. Agents responsible for decay. Role of climate in deterioration of records.

Module 3: Different methods for preservation

Scientific principles behind the preservation of manuscripts: Archival Building, site, design and orientation of building, general requirements for building, ideal storage conditions. Preventing entry of pollutants. Deactivation of pollutants within the archives, common insecticides : Naphthalene bricks, spray of insecticides, Coating materials, sulph Arsenic, Gammexane, Cederwood oil ointments. Fumigation methods. Foxing.

Module 4: Restoration of documentary wealth

Pre- restoration activities, reinforcement, pre- restoration consideration, physical cleaning. Examination of documents- deacidification: Aqueous methods, Otto Schierholtz method, method of single solution, Calcium bicarbonate, magnesium bicarbonate methods, Barrow’s method, Non- aqueous methods, Vapour phase methods. Removal of stains. Lamination, encapsulation, Binding. Principles of documentary restoration.

Module 5: Challenges in Conservationand solutions

Problems of collective nature, lack of archival awareness and technical knowledge. Problems related to diversity of climate. Problems related to storage of standard , lack of skilled conservators and restorators. Challenges in conservation of Maps and News papers, difficulties due to individual nature of manuscripts, Challenges in preservation of Palm leaf manuscripts.


This course aims to familiarize students with various aspects of conservation in Modern India

Course Outcomes

Module Learning outcomes
1 Student will learn about the various organizations in India which are working towards the conservation of our cultural heritage
2 Student will learn about the different properties of paper –both physical and chemical characteristics that is used for preserving manuscripts  
3 Student will get a thorough knowledge on different methods for preservation.  
4 Learn about the various methodologies adopted for restoring documentary wealth  
5 Learn about the various challenges in conservation and its solutions  

Mode of Transaction

Lecture sessions, Assignments, Presentations


  1. Agrawal, O.P – Conservation as Manuscripts and Painting of South East Asia, Butterworth – Heinemann, London (1984)
  2. Joshi B.R. preservation of palm leaf Manuscripts conservation of Cultural property in India, Vol XXII, New Delhi (1989)
  3. Agrawal, O.P, and BarkeshliMandana – Conservation of Books Manuscripts and paper Documents. INTACH, Lucknow (1997).
  4. Agrawal, O.P – Conservation of Books Manuscripts and paper Documents. INTACH, Lucknow.
  5. Bhattacharya, B, Palm Leaf Manuscripts and their preservation, Indian Archives, New Delhi (1947).
  6. Singh Tej conservation of Cultural Property in India. Indian Association for the Study of conservation of Cultural property, New Delhi (1988).
  7. Agrawal O.P, Preservation of Art objects and Library Materials National Book Trust, New Delhi (1993).

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