The Fix – Outfitting a Satellite Conservation Lab

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 the National Mall.  Our main concerns were books that are very large and fragile that we are reluctant to put through the stress of packing and shipping and volumes  that require simple repairs in order for them to be scanned.

The Fix – The Art of Camouflage

This post was written by Vanessa Haight Smith, Head of Preservation Services.  Japanese paper is used for many applications in book and paper conservation and I often choose this material when reattaching weak or detached boards.  The practice of toning Japanese paper hinges for reattaching boards to leather bindings, promoted by conservator Don Etherington, is widely used in the field.

The Fix – Atlas Science Tablet

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 »

The Fix: Common Conservation Techniques for Stabilizing Books

This post was written by Katie Boodle, Book Conservation Lab intern. As part of the Smithsonian Libraries’ Conservation of Library Materials Internship, I had the opportunity to work on projects that addressed common conservation problems in archives and special collections: preparing works for digitization and creation of enclosures. Conservation in general is focused primarily on the stabilization of ethnographic, historical, and/or artistic objects for future or continued use. A lot of our more »

Welcome Preservation Intern, Kathryn Boodle!

This post was written by Vanessa Haight Smith, head of Preservation Services. This year Kathryn Boodle has been awarded the Smithsonian Libraries Professional Development Internship in Preservation.  She arrived this week at the Smithsonian Libraries Preservation Department directly upon graduating from the MA program in the Conservation of Art on Paper and Books and Archival Material at the Camberwell College of Arts in London.

Conservation of World’s Fair Pop-Up Books

    A set of four pop up books from the

Answers to our “Ask Me Anything”!

On April 30th, in honor of Preservation Week, the Smithsonian Libraries hosted an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) question and answer session with our book conservator, Katie Wagner.  The conversation primarily took place on our Tumblr page, from 12-2pm.  Katie answered about 30 questions, related mostly to book care and treatment, the Libraries and our collections and careers in conservation.

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