This post was written by Roger Williams, intern in our Book Conservation Lab. I came to the Smithsonian for six weeks for the work-placement segment of my studies at West Dean College. As a Virginia native and a longtime visitor of the Smithsonian, I was excited at the opportunity to get some real-world experience both close to home and at one of the most impressive museums on the planet.
Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to welcome Michael Keeling to the Preservation Services Department. Michael is a D.C. native and a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the NYU creative writing program. Previously, he worked as a collections care technician at the Library of Congress.
We recently carved out some space in the Natural History Building for a Conservation and Digitization Annex. The Annex allows us to do low to medium level repair on site where many of our Library books are housed. Preservation staff share the space with our digitization team. The goal was to reduce the amount of shipping between our main conservation lab (located offsite in Maryland) and the majority of our materials located on more »
It’s that back to school time of year with backpacks filled with new school supplies. If you were a student in the 1890s you may have had a new “Atlas Science Tablet” in your school bag. This particular tablet was for botany with 28 pages for notes. However, the notes in this tablet pertain to mathematics with entry titles such as “The Geometric Representation of Numbers.” The tablet came to the book conservation more »
A set of four pop up books from the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 were recently treated in the book conservation lab. The books are part of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Library World’s Fair materials. The World’s Columbian Exposition took place in Chicago in 1893 and these four books reveal four different views of the exposition. The four books were in good condition for pop-up books. The chromolithographic prints are more »
We field a lot of questions in the Book Conservation Lab about caring for personal collections. In the spirit of Preservation Week here are some answers to some of our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have additional questions we have a live “Ask Our Book Conservator Anything” April 30th from 12-2 PM!
Last year a book came into the Book Conservation Lab as part of the Smithsonian Libraries Adopt-a-Book program. The book, Systema Entomological by Heinrich Buchecker, was in two distinct pieces – text and plates. The color lithographic plates, depicting dragonflies, were printed on paper that is a higher quality than the text. Unfortunately, the text is printed on highly acidic paper that has become brittle with age. Usually the decision to post bind is more »
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