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Wold War ii Silk Air Force Maps


World War II Silk Air Force Maps


Private collection


Textiles conservation


The double sided silk maps were given to WWII pilots during their flights over occupied territory aiding their escape should they be shot down. The client wished for both sides of the maps to be displayed. Working in conjunction with our conservation framers, and the clients, we devised an innovative mounting technique involving stitching the maps to a crepeline covered in Perspex sheet, allowing the map to be fully supported and the second side to be visible through the fine silk support.


The silk maps suffered from deep fold lines due to an extended period in storage. Soiling around the fold lines and thinning of the fabric has also occurred due to repeated handling.


The maps were cleaned successfully then flattened and mounted providing a very effective and versatile display. The frame can be hung either way on the wall, showing the front or back without a visually disruptive hanging system. The conservation treatment compromised of;

  • Wet cleaning on each double sided silk map to remove the surface dirt and relax fold lines
  • Adhesive repairs of the small rips and tears
  • Flattening of silk maps using glass weights
  • Stitching of maps to a silk crepeline covered in Perspex sheet
  • Double sided conservation framing allowing both sides of the maps to be viewed


WWII map front

Front of map

WWII maps back

Back of map

WWII maps silk

Detail of map seen through silk