The Fix: Repairing Kaigara Danmen Zuan

In the Book Conservation Lab we sometimes treat books requiring intricate repairs. In November,  Kaigara Danmen Zuan printed in Kyoto in 1913 and authored by Yoichiro Hirase came to us for repair work. It was recently adopted through an Adopt-a-Book event hosted at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.  The book itself is from that museum’s library. Hirase was a prominent malacologist (mollusk scientist) in Japan who collected over 3,500 seashells, 1,000 of which more »

The Fix: Conservation of Les Lépidoptères de la Belgique

This post was written by Ludivine Javelaud, intern in the Book Conservation Lab. I am currently a conservation graduate student at the Institut National du Patrimoine in Paris and I have been accepted to complete part of my 4th year internship requirement in the Book Conservation Lab in the Preservation Department at the Smithsonian Libraries.     One of the projects I am involved with is the conservation of a collection of 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: Preservation Outreach in Peru

​Due to the unusual amount of rain in March of this year, Peru experienced major flooding, particularly in the Northern providence of Lambayeque. Many cultural institutions were affected. As a result, Vanessa Wagner, the U.S. Embassy in Peru’s Senior Cultural Specialist, reached out to the Smithsonian to organize workshops and talks on the subjects of fire and flood safety & emergency response.

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 »

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