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It occurs to me that some acid-free materials are good for protein product and some aren't -- it's either buffered or unbuffered acid-free tissue that you should store silk in, for example. Of course, I obviously can't remember which one. I would think parchment, as an animal product, would fall into this special category.
Lorraine E. Weiss, Education Director
Be patient for a while, parchment is very strong stuff if handled correctly but it can be damaged beyond repair very easily. While I investigate, the best thing to do is keep it more or less stable. Don't try to flatten or clean it, leave it as is for the time being. The easiest storage is probably a nice sturdy box, but of hard cardboard, not corrugated. The cardboard will minimize temperature and humidity fluctuations.
I've been intending to investigate this question for some time now. I've made some prickings on modern parchment that was made for covering books. It's great to work with but it's opaque, whereas the old pricking I have and others I've seen are transparent. I've picked up clues that parchment for some purposes, including prickings, was oiled so that it would be both transparent and more stable than the plain variety, which responds to humidity dramatically.
Once I've figured out how it was made I'll be able to ask the right questions of the conservators I know who work on parchment, which is a pretty specialized field. Actually, I hope to get into a class with the best this summer. Even if I don't, I intend to show him my pricking and ask his advice. In the meantime, hang on, no action is currently the best action. They've lasted this long, they're unlikely to take significant harm from waiting a bit longer.
Lorraine - as to the buffered vs unbuffered quandary. The trick is to remember that good paper is acid free - the acid is harmful. The buffering is alkaline to help counteract the acid in the object so it doesn't acidify its container. Wool, silk, and possible parchment (but I won't swear to it) are protein and will dissolve is a strong enough alkali (that's how you make wool soap - wool and lye). No buffering with proteins. You use buffering with cellulose things, like cotton, linen, etc.
To summarize - use buffered paper with paper!! How's that? Easy to remember? I won't tell you how long it took me to figure out how to figure it out.
Williamsburg, VA, USA