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 »

Conservation of World’s Fair Pop-Up Books

    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 »

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.

The Fix: Binding Waste

This post was written by Vanessa Haight Smith, head of Preservation Services. When repairing older books, the Smithsonian Libraries conservators occasionally uncover evidence of recycling by the original bookbinders.  Paper from damaged and discarded volumes was frequently used when binding new books.  Why use a new, clean sheet of paper when a leftover scrap would work just as well?

MayDay – What’s in our disaster kit?

Each year archives, libraries, museums, and arts and historic preservation organizations set aside May 1 to participate in MayDay, an initiative created by Heritage Preservation to protect cultural heritage from disasters. Organizations are encouraged to do one thing for emergency preparedness. This year, the Libraries would like to share with you the content of our Emergency Response Kits.

Ask Our Book Conservator Anything!

On April 30th, in celebration of Preservation Week , the Smithsonian Libraries will host a question and answer session with our book conservator, Katie Wagner. Do you have a question about how to care for your own books or how we care for ours at the Smithsonian? Now is your chance to ask our expert!  

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