Lyophilization is a well-established technique used in various industries, such as food and pharmaceuticals, to preserve the properties of perishable products. However, its application in the field of book restoration is still relatively novel and represents a promising frontier for the preservation of cultural heritage.
The National Central Library’s restoration laboratory, as a partner in the SAFECULT project, is at the forefront of adopting innovative approaches to salvage and restore flood-damaged materials. By utilizing freeze-drying, they aim to mitigate the long-term effects of water damage on the ancient volumes from the Seminary Library of Forlì. This advanced technique not only removes moisture but also minimizes the risk of mold growth, which can be a significant threat to the structural integrity and longevity of the books.
The collaboration between the National Central Library’s restoration laboratory and the Seminary Library of Forlì demonstrates the dedication to safeguarding cultural heritage and the implementation of cutting-edge technologies in the field of book conservation. Through their joint efforts, these priceless volumes, including cinquecentine and incunabula, will have a renewed chance at survival, ensuring that future generations can continue to appreciate and study these invaluable works.
The decision to employ freeze-drying for the restoration of the flood-damaged volumes from the Seminary Library of Forlì is a testament to the expertise gained from previous catastrophic events. Building upon the lessons learned from the devastating flood of 1966 in Florence, as well as the handling of water-damaged manuscripts during the Magra River flooding in 2011 and the treatment of wet manuscripts in Venice in 2019, the National Central Library’s restoration laboratory has developed a refined understanding of effective drying techniques.