Encapsulated in Argon
Multiple points of light
Each document is illuminated by two “Light Bars” from SCHOTT Fibre Optics in Doncaster, England. Multiple points of light set off in two rows provide even lighting at low conservation levels. “Producing even lighting without shadows was a major concern and the “Light Bars” worked extremely well,” said conservator Larry Bowers of the National Parks Service. “Because of the variance between the types of paper and the amount of exposure that each document has had over the years, we lit the documents at different levels between three and five foot candles (30-50 lux) to achieve the same effect for all documents.”
Another advantage for Bowers was the low maintenance of the lighting. “There is no deterioration factor to consider with the fiber optics,” he said, “and since the illuminators are long lasting, they are user-friendly for maintenance staff.”
All the documents on display in Independence Hall are original printed copies made for distribution to delegates in the respective ratification processes. The signed hand-written originals are on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C..