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Updated 10:00 AM March 5, 2007




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Photo: Cool and dry for the papyri

Mike Psiuk of Altech of Ann Arbor and a team of sheet metal, electrical and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning workers crawl around one another in the 150 square foot mechanical area to complete work on a new environmental system for the vault at the Hatcher Library. The precautions taken in updating the ventilating and temperature control systems for the vault ensure there will be no damage to papyrus leaves from Papyrology and parchment and early paper from the Special Collections Library held in storage there. Workers also made sure that caulking compounds and sealers would not emit fumes that possibly could damage stored items. "Papyri don't like big fluctuations in temperature and humidity," archivist Traianos Gagos says. The new equipment will provide a stable climate of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 40-45 percent, replicating conditions found in the Egyptian desert where most of the papyri in the U-M collection once were buried. (Photo by Lin Jones, U-M Photo Services)

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