By Sheri Duff
Visitors to the Shelburne Town Clerk’s office probably didn’t notice that the faded, non-descript Chittenden County map adorning the wall for decades was missing—until recently. Last month the 1857 map, beautifully restored to its former glory by Kofile Preservation in Essex, is back on display and hard to overlook.
“It was impossible to tell that the map had such vivid colors until now,” proclaimed Assistant Town Clerk Lisa Mann. “It was in such disrepair,” Shelburne Town Clerk Colleen Haag chimed in. “Luckily a former town officer had the foresight to ask the Shelburne Museum to put it under archival glass for safekeeping about 25 years ago.”
“It wasn’t in good shape even then,” offered Kofile’s restoration expert Dennis Curran. “The map was very soiled and dirty and had deteriorated rapidly over the past 10 years. Restoration is a tedious, labor intensive process. Display level maps must be done in phases. It took us over a year to completely restore the map. Now it’s basically restored forever,” he informed.
And that’s good news. Especially since it is the Town Clerk’s responsibility to house and safeguard the town’s permanent public records. Without preservation, permanent records will be lost, which is precisely the reason Shelburne has preservation audits. “Every few years we determine, with the help of Kofile experts such as Curran, which documents need preservation,” Haag noted.
“Thankfully the map restoration was not paid for with taxpayer money,” emphasized Haag. “All the user fees from the preservation fund paid for its repair. And the fund is not depleted.”
Permanent restoration and electronic conversion preserves past and present information, another positive for the town. Fortunately for Shelburne, preserving this information for future generations is all mapped out.