The Fix – Preparing an Exhibition Takes a Village

The Preservation Department of the Smithsonian Libraries (SIL) has been preparing materials for the past year for the upcoming exhibition in the SIL Gallery, National Museum of American History, Cultivating America’s Gardens.  Drawn mainly from the collections of the Smithsonian Libraries and Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens, it is a cooperative curatorial effort of both units.

A behind-the-scenes tour for Preservation Week

This week, April 23-29th 2017, is Preservation Week, a week set aside by the American Library Association to highlight the importance of conserving and properly caring for books, papers and other media,  in both institutional and personal collections. This year, we’re celebrating Preservation Week with a live, behind-the-scenes tour of our Book Conservation Lab, via Facebook Live. Viewers will have a chance to meet our conservation staff, learn about what they do more »

Preserving “Nimm Mich Mit!”

This blog post was written by Noah Smutz, book conservator. Nimm Mich Mit! by Lothar Meggendorfer is a lovely early 20th century German visual dictionary filled with colorful illustrations. They include everyday objects including geometric shapes, kitchen utensils, clothing, plants, animals, people at work, and house interiors (learn more in a recent blog post ). This book is part of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum National Design Library collection in New York City.  

The Fix: Pest Damage

A book, The Flying Spy,  from the National Air and Space Museum Library came to the Book Conservation Lab with a unique, though not exactly rare, problem: Pest Damage.   As book lovers and good library patrons, we all know the importance of the proper handling of books. For example, we know to store them properly (up off the floor, away from damp conditions), handle them gently, and to not eat nor more »

Saved from Staples: Treating a metal-stapled pamphlet

Pamphlets, brochures, and other publications of thin width, are often bound with metal staples. The passage of time and environmental conditions, such as high humidity, may sometimes cause staples to corrode. Rust, flaking off of the metal, can stain and damage the integrity of the surrounding paper. To help maintain the longevity of an item that has suffered this type of damage, it is best to remove the staples and effect repairs more »

The Conservation of Random Records of a Lifetime

In preparation for the December 1st, 2016 170th birthday of William Henry Holmes  we repaired several of his “Random Records of  Lifetime”. The repairs enabled the volumes to be digitization and included in the transcription project. This is volume 1 of his multi-volume memoir/scrapbook.

The Fix: Faith Congregational Church Loans Historic Pennington Pulpit Bible

Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut has a 195 year legacy that includes a noteworthy collection of historical materials, including an extensive collection of historical papers and artifacts. This collection holds  several bibles dating back to the early 19th century, the most famous being the Rev. James W. C. Pennington Bible.  A fugitive from slavery, James Pennington (1807 – 1870) became an internationally known preacher, writer, and abolitionist. He was the first more »

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