The Fix: Removal of Pressure-Sensitive Tape

  In early March, the Smithsonian Libraries Preservation Department hosted the workshop: “Removal of Pressure Sensitive Tape and Tape Stains”. The instructors Linda Stiber Morenus and Elissa O’Loughlin have taught this course throughout the US and abroad for over 25 years. At our Smithsonian facility in Landover, Maryland, participants received in an overview of pressure-sensitive tapes, their production methods and manufacturing history, tape and adhesive identification, removal techniques, aspects of organic solvent more »

The Fix: Preservation and “Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head” Part II

A few months ago I wrote a detailed blog post on the treatment of the tissue paper overlays in Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head. The following blog post will detail the remaining treatment for this book.

The Fix: Maintaining an item’s received condition

Most of the items received in the Libraries’ Book Conservation Lab require intervention which may consist of treatments such as removing rusted staples; mending torn paper; or reattaching spine coverings. This active repair work often involves adding new thread, introducing new paper and adhesives, or replacing deteriorated cloth with a fresh piece that has been toned with acrylic paints. Items are minimally altered from their received condition and end up as a more »

The Fix: The Full Treatment

In conservation we use the term “full treatment” to describe when a book requires dis-binding the textblock, washing the pages, performing paper repair, re-sewing the sections, and replacing the boards and cover. In other words, it has received the maximum level of conservation care. As part of our Adopt-a-Book program, John Hill’s 1782 A History of Animals, from The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, arrived in the Book Conservation more »

The Fix: Treating Historic Sheet Music

Earlier this year, two music manuscripts arrived in the book conservation lab from the Dibner Library for the History of Science and Technology. These two small items, James Bishop’s musical Gamut of 1766, and Uri Bishop’s Military Music from the War of 1812, were part of a donation earlier in the year by James L. Cerruti and his sister Vera V. Magruder. The generous gift was featured in a Smithsonian Libraries blog more »

The Fix: Preservation and “Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head”

Principles of Beauty Relative to the Human Head by Alexander Cozens was published in 1778 by James Dixwell in London. It is a large book measuring 55 by 38 centimeters (21.5 by 15 inches) and is part of the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library collection. It came to the Book Conservation Lab as part of Smithsonian Libraries Adopt-a-Book program. The content includes printed drawings of women’s heads and their various facial more »

The Fix: Repairing “Home Life in Tokyo”’s Original, Protective Portfolio Enclosure

A few months ago, a book from the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Library came for treatment to the Book Conservation Lab: Home Life in Tokyo.  Our copy, printed in 1911, is a softback binding, common for Japanese publications, and according to the bibliographic record, it was “issued in a portfolio.” The book itself was in very good condition, however, after many years of protecting the soft-backed book, more »

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