A preservation assessment of and staff training to care for 1,292 rolled drawings documenting the construction of the Key West Extension of the Over-Sea Railroad (1904-12), an engineering feat that involved laying 156 miles of track from Miami to Key West with 42 bridges connecting more than 100 islands. Playing an essential role in the history of Florida's agricultural and tourist industries, the railway developed by Henry Flagler is the focus of educational and public programming, as well as scholarly publications.
The Flagler Museum's project will address a portion of its extensive Key West Extension Collection. The KWE required substantial engineering and technical innovations documented by the rolled drawings that are this project's focus. Primarily dating from the period of construction (1904-1912), these drawings have never been surveyed or treated. A highly qualified Paper Conservation Consultant will examine current environmental/storage conditions for the KWE drawings, make recommendations for their long-term archival storage, review a representative selection of 25 drawings with Museum Staff, provide instruction on how to conduct a condition analysis, and prioritize drawings most in need of treatment. The conservator will also train Museum Staff to carry out basic conservation treatments for the drawings, including cleaning, flattening, and repairs. The project's goal is to begin the process of making accessible 1,300 drawings previously unavailable for research and display.