Simple Rehousing

Numerous pamphlets, catalogues, and paperbound materials contribute to the vast general collections held within the Smithsonian Libraries. Many of these fragile items were carefully treated by past Preservation Services staff using approaches similar to those we currently employ.

The Fix – Understanding Leather

As a book conservator for the Smithsonian Libraries I’ve been given ample opportunity to expand my knowledge through workshops, seminars and professional meetings. One of the most interesting opportunities I’ve recently had was to attend a week long workshop, “Understanding Leather: From Tannery to Collection,” in Northampton, England. The workshop was held at the Leather Conservation Centre, an international center for leather conservation and research, on the campus of the University of Northampton. The course more »

The Fix – Book Detective

When a book arrives in the Conservation Lab the first order of business is often detective work. The binding is examined to determine if it is original to the book, the paper is analyzed for clues to its origin, and scraps of paper or other ephemera enlighten us as to the provenance of the book. Recently, a particularly intriguing volume, Botanicon,  came to us from the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History.

Welcome, Jennifer Jarvis!

The Smithsonian Libraries Book Conservation Lab would like to extend a warm spring welcome to Jennifer Jarvis, who will be joining Preservation Services as a book conservator.

Celebrate Preservation Week!

Memories and treasures should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations. Sponsored by the ALA’s Association of Library Collections and Services and partner organizations, Preservation Week was created in 2010 to address the roughly 630 million items in collecting institutions that are in need of immediate attention and care, as well as to help individuals protect and store their personal, family and community collections.

A Typical Case of Repair Work

Many books within the various general collections of the Smithsonian Libraries arrive at the Book Conservation Lab in need of similar treatment. Though the several collections in the Natural History Museum Libraries are largely filled with science related items, some reveal aspects of the natural world through artistic and literary presentations. Recently, a book of this type, entitled The Poetry of Nature, selected and illustrated by Harrison Weir and published in 1868, more »

A postgraduate work placement experience

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.

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