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    Eliis Otti

  • Cultural Heritage and Conservation
  • BA
  • Conservation of Botanist Heinrich Aasamaa's Field Diary
  • Tutor: Tea Šumanov
  • Paper

The primary goal of this Bachelor’s thesis was to conserve botanist Heinrich Aasamaa’s IV field diary, which was both the last of his diaries and the one in the worst condition. His field diaries are a unique source of information that together with his herbarium make up his life’s great work and are now preserved at the Estonian Museum of Natural History. While the field diaries of botanists belong first and foremost to materials relating to the history of science, they sometimes speak to a lesser or greater degree of the people who wrote them, and this holds true for Aasamaa’s field diaries as well, which are documents of a personal and unique nature. Hence, the purpose of conservation efforts was not to “fix” the field diary, but to preserve its unique qualities as much as possible. In addition to the conservation of the diary, research was done on the life of Aasamaa as well as on how herbariums and botany as a field of research came to be in order to better understand Aasamaa’s work and the importance of herbariums throughout history. As Aasamaa’s field diary consists of various types of paper produced using wood cellulose, how and why paper made from wood cellulose was developed and how its various manufacturing methods influence the properties and preservation of paper also was studied.

Heinrich Aasamaa’s IV field diary before conservation.
Heinrich Aasamaa’s IV field diary after conservation.