The Benefits of Digital Reproduction

By Robin Hann, Digital Restoration Specialist

(Above) Esther Scroll circa 1850. Close-up of detail.

This decorative hand-painted Esther scroll arrived tightly wound inside a beautiful metal case. In its fragile condition, the scroll could sustain even more damage if continuously rolled and unrolled from its case. Therefore the preservation challenge was to find a way to appreciate the scroll, but not damage the document itself. Digital reproduction was recommended as a solution to this problem, so the original could remain in the case with less handling, and therefore experience less deterioration over time.

To begin, the document was carefully unrolled. Because of its delicate nature and size, the scroll was photographed in sections with a macro lens. Once the photographic task was complete, the images were transferred to the computer in order to connect the sections together. The result was one seamless and continuous image that was printed on archival digital materials which is able to be displayed, handled, and examined without continued destabilization of the original.

(Above) Sample of the digital reproduction