Conservation of World’s Fair Pop-Up Books

June 18, 2014

    A set of four pop up books from the

Answers to our “Ask Me Anything”!

May 23, 2014

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?

May 1, 2014

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!

April 11, 2014

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!  

The Fix – Post Binding

January 15, 2014

Last year a book came into the Book Conservation Lab as part of the Smithsonian Libraries Adopt-a-Book program. The book, Systema Entomological by Heinrich Buchecker, was in two distinct pieces – text and plates.  The color lithographic plates, depicting dragonflies, were printed on paper that is a higher quality than the text. Unfortunately, the text is printed on highly acidic paper that has become brittle with age. Usually the decision to post bind is more »

The Fix – FAO Schwarz 1911 Toy Catalog

December 23, 2013

New York at Christmas time evokes many memories but as a child it meant a visit to FAO Schwarz, the oldest toy store in the United States. When a 1911 catalog from the famed toy store landed in the Book Conservation Lab it was like an early Christmas present!

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