The conservation of manuscript pages can be very tricky. In the case of the McAuley Diary, from our Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, there were many issues. The manuscript consisted of multiple sized unbound sections housed together in a leather cover that was far too small for its contents. The pages were nearly all crumpled and torn and many pages had areas of loss. In this condition the text was more »
Book supports or, more aptly named, cradles are used to display bound library materials in exhibitions. The Smithsonian Libraries plans and installs two exhibitions each year that include as many as a hundred volumes on display at a given time. Since books come in various sizes shapes and materials, a proper support is necessary to assure that the book rests comfortably while on exhibit yet have the cradle remain somewhat invisible.
In anticipation of Smithsonian Libraries’ participation in this year’s Museum Day Live events on Saturday March 12th, we wanted to highlight Library Preservation work at the Book Conservation Lab here at Smithsonian Libraries, and draw attention to the varied interests and skills that are inherent to Preservation work and are important and driving forces in preserving library collections for the future.
The Book Conservation Lab often receives items that require new sewing or new adhesive on the text block as part of their treatment. Infrequently, an item arrives that has been bound atypically and extraordinary repair measures are needed.
Ein Wintermärchen (a winter story) is a children’s book from our Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Library. The library holds an extensive collection of children’s books, around 2,000, with 1,200 being pop-up books. This particular volume came to the Book Conservation Lab through the Adopt-A-Book program. The book is lavishly illustrated by Ernst Kreidolf, a well-known Swiss children’s book illustrator. Many of his books depict fairies and other mythical creatures, more »
When Smithsonian Libraries’ material is placed on exhibition, all selected objects are reviewed for display. In some cases, conservation treatment is required in order to make it possible for a book to be opened and pages turned without damaging the structure. Other factors such as conditions for temperature, relative humidity, and light levels in the exhibition gallery are reviewed before allowing items to be exhibited for any length of time. The Dibner more »
The conservation of special collections materials is rarely a straightforward endeavor. It’s important to treat each item as a unique object, and to let its particular history and condition drive the decision-making process. Often, the path forward is only revealed once treatment begins, as the conservator becomes more and more familiar with the book, sometimes through research and analysis, but often simply by observing and handling the book over a period of more »
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