This week, April 23-29th 2017, is Preservation Week, a week set aside by the American Library Association to highlight the importance of conserving and properly caring for books, papers and other media, in both institutional and personal collections. This year, we’re celebrating Preservation Week with a live, behind-the-scenes tour of our Book Conservation Lab, via Facebook Live. Viewers will have a chance to meet our conservation staff, learn about what they do more »
This blog post was written by Noah Smutz, book conservator. Nimm Mich Mit! by Lothar Meggendorfer is a lovely early 20th century German visual dictionary filled with colorful illustrations. They include everyday objects including geometric shapes, kitchen utensils, clothing, plants, animals, people at work, and house interiors (learn more in a recent blog post ). This book is part of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum National Design Library collection in New York City.
Pamphlets, brochures, and other publications of thin width, are often bound with metal staples. The passage of time and environmental conditions, such as high humidity, may sometimes cause staples to corrode. Rust, flaking off of the metal, can stain and damage the integrity of the surrounding paper. To help maintain the longevity of an item that has suffered this type of damage, it is best to remove the staples and effect repairs more »
Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut has a 195 year legacy that includes a noteworthy collection of historical materials, including an extensive collection of historical papers and artifacts. This collection holds several bibles dating back to the early 19th century, the most famous being the Rev. James W. C. Pennington Bible. A fugitive from slavery, James Pennington (1807 – 1870) became an internationally known preacher, writer, and abolitionist. He was the first more »
Recently an Artist’s Book, from the American Art and National Portrait Gallery Library, arrived at the Conservation Lab in need of a suitable protective housing. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend by Carolyn Shattuck is a “flexagon” book, a flexible structure made from a chain of tetrahedrons. The book can be manipulated into different shapes and has many vibrant illustrations on the various facets. (Click the Hyperlinks to explore more about this book more »
Older hardcover books within the Smithsonian Libraries’ circulating collections often contain unique information which serve staff and patrons over the course of many years. With age and use, these items sometimes begin to break along the hinges. The book cloth becomes frayed, torn, or cracked and the spine piece may separate completely from the boards. This damage necessitates a repair which will conserve and recreate the original binding structure as much as more »
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 »
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