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.
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 »
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 »
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.
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?
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.
This year, The Smithsonian Libraries (SIL) was given a monetary award by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF) to re-house 558 folio volumes of special materials collections housed at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Library (CHMDL). These items were identified as requiring housing/re-housing by contract book conservators who conducted the CCPF funded condition survey of more than 4000 items at CHMDL in 2011-2012.
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