A key document in the history of our nation has been restored and will soon be displayed in Springfield. The document is the congressional resolution adopting the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery. It has been in possession of the state of Illinois for 70 years, and was recently restored, free of charge, by Graphic Conservation Co. in Chicago, which specializes in restoring old documents and collectibles.
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The hand-written document, at 146 years of age, had bumps and wrinkles that made it hard to see the writing, and were also causing the ink to separate from the surface. The restoration firm spent five months flattening it, making it more readable. There are eight copies of the resolution out there, signed by 143 members of Congress and by President Lincoln. This one will be on display at the museum Feb. 1.
The resolution was mainly kept in a vault while in the state’s possession, displayed on infrequent occasions. Though restored, it still will require special handling, since any exposure to light will cause it to fade. Russ Maki, president of Graphic Conservation, says this restoration, coupled with the special handling at the museum, should keep the document legible “for many generations to come.”