Entrevista com um restaurador de documentos

Interview with a document restorer

document restorer

Heuvath Alquimim is majoring in Conservation-Restoration of Movable Cultural Assets at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

What does document restorer work consist of?

In addition to restoring movable and immovable cultural property, the job of the conservator-restorer seeks to conserve memory, traditions and gestures, contributing to the permanence of these goods.

What are your customers?

Mostly government institutions and private collection managers.

Why do we need document restorers?

Cultural assets, whether they are graphic documents or under other supports and modalities, reaffirm in their existence landmarks and importance, historical or personal, which require specific and intrinsic care for each one of them. Promoting - a professional with adequate training - a better treatment of the works.

Can we always restore a document?

No, in certain cases, the restoration process can pose risks to the work, and it – the restoration – is a last resort procedure, so conservation methods are used as a tool for greater permanence of the work.

How long does the restore process take?

The restoration processes depend on the state of conservation of the work, this time being modulated and adequate, according to the specificities and needs of each one. Therefore, it is not possible to specify the exact time taken by the restoration process.

What tools and consumables do you use?

Among the various tools and equipment used in a document conservation and restoration process, consumables consist of special paper and adhesives, suitable for conservation-restoration procedures, and personal safety equipment.

Why is prevention important?

The prevention or conservation of works is the most important operation for a collection, delaying a possible and future need for direct and more invasive intervention in works.

And after restoring the document, what do you have to do?

After the restoration process carried out on a work, it must be kept under adequate packaging, in neutral and stable material, in order to slow down its natural deterioration.

What's the most interesting restoration job you've ever done?

Among the works already carried out, I highlight my participation as a restoration assistant in the project “Memória do Pão de Santo Antônio”, developed in Diamantina – MG.

Have you ever made a mistake and worsened the state of a document?

The main processes considered appropriate for the conservation and restoration of documents are retractable, therefore, if there is any technical failure during the procedure, this can be undone and reapplied correctly.

Why did you choose this career?

I chose to graduate, given the importance of safeguarding cultural assets, the need for trained professionals to carry out this activity, and personal inclinations.

What are the qualities needed to be a good restorer?

In addition to the basic qualities necessary for any professional, the craft of conservation and restoration of movable cultural assets requires mechanical dexterity, methodological reasoning, clarity in diagnoses, among others.

What did you study to be a restorer?

I am currently studying the 5th period of Conservation and Restoration of Movable Cultural Assets, at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

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