Preservation

28mm film in need of preservation copying

The Library and Archives Canada Preservation Centre

Preservation is a core activity at Library and Archives Canada (LAC). A large part of this preservation work is done at the Preservation Centre in Gatineau.

The Library and Archives Canada Preservation Centre opened in June 1997 in Gatineau, Quebec. Its facilities are dedicated to the preservation of the country’s documentary heritage. This centre of excellence provides collection storage areas with optimum environmental conditions, and laboratories equipped for preservation activities.

Storage vaults for a wide variety of documents and publications

Forty-eight vaults, at approximately 350 square metres each, house a variety of archival records and publications and offer four different environments. Vaults are designed to protect documents by eliminating potential threats, by a sophisticated fire detection and suppression system, and by carefully controlling all materials used inside the vault to maintain a contaminant-free environment.

Photograph of the mobile shelving units used to store books. 

Books are stored on mobile shelving at 18°C (+/- 2°C) and 40% relative humidity (+/- 5%).

 
Photograph of the mobile shelving units used to store boxed textual records. 
  • Paper documents
  • Black-and-white photographic and film materials
  • Magnetic and electronic records
These are stored in boxes on mobile shelving at 18°C
(+/- 2°C) and 40% relative humidity (+/- 5%).

 

 
Photograph of the mobile shelving units used to store the “pizza boxes” used for oversize paper documents. 
  • Maps
  • Posters
  • Works of art on paper
These are stored in boxes or plan cabinets on mobile shelving at 18°C (+/- 2°C) and 40% relative humidity
(+/- 5%).
Photograph of the mobile shelving units used to store black and white motion picture films. 

Black-and-white motion picture film in polypropylene cans are stored on mobile shelving at 18°C (+/- 2°C) and 40% relative humidity (+/- 5%).

 
Photograph of the antechamber of the cold storage vault where colour, and black and white film records are kept. 

Ante-chamber of cold storage vault is used for colour and cellulose acetate motion picture film and photographs.

The environment is maintained at -18°C
(+/- 2°C)
and 25% relative humidity (+/- 5%).

 

 
Photograph of the interior of the art storage vault for paintings and other artwork. 

Paintings, globes, and miniatures are stored on mobile hanging racks at
18°C (+/- 2°C) and 50% relative humidity (+/- 5%).

Preservation laboratories

Individual laboratories for conservation treatment, preservation copying of records, and digitization are constructed in a village-like setting, on the top floor of the building, directly over the three-storey vault structure. This enables Library and Archives Canada preservation experts to work together under the same roof.