Following a massive statewide crowdfunding campaign, the newly restored Oregon Constitution is now on view at the Oregon Historical Society through September 3, 2018.
What started as a penny drive targeted at Oregon students to raise funds to preserve and exhibit the original 1857 Oregon Constitution turned into over $100,000 raised to restore this historic document. The Oregon Historical Society is proud to have joined many Oregonians in contributing to this effort, and is the first location outside of the Oregon State Archives in Salem to host the document.
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson arranged special TSA clearance as the constitution traveled from Portland to the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, Massachusetts. The detailed conservation effort included digital imaging to create a record of the document prior to restoration, and some of the “before and after” photos of the constitution are on view in the Oregon Historical Society display.
“It was really neat to see the process and how it made the pages crisp and clean,” said Rachel Randles, Director of Marketing & Communications for the Oregon Historical Society.
Mary Beth Herkert, Director of the State Archives Division, shares an overview of the restoration in a video, and the NEDCC further details the complex conservation process in this video. Steps included repairing pages that were loose from the binding (while preserving the original binding), as well as essentially giving the pages a “bath” in order to clean the pages that were starting to discolor due to the type of ink that was used in writing the document. The full effort took a single conservationist four months to complete.
About the Oregon Historical Society
For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.