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 »

Saving Endsheets during spine covering repair

Endsheets at the front and back of most hardcover books serve as a protection and an attachment device. The outermost sheet, or pastedown, is typically glued to the interior of the cover board, while the pastedown’s other half, known as the flyleaf, serves as a shield between the board and the first and last leaves of the textblock. Pastedowns may be blank; marbled with a colorful design; or illustrated. If an illustration more »

Conservation of a Flipbook

The Smithsonian Libraries was recently gifted the flipbook Eagles in Flight. A flipbook is a grouping of still images of movement that when quickly “flipped” give the illusion of actual movement. The books reached their height of popularity  at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. This book is from a series entitled Flicker (because they are known as flickerbooks  in the UK where this title was printed) more »

The Fix – Preparing an Exhibition Takes a Village

The Preservation Department of the Smithsonian Libraries (SIL) has been preparing materials for the past year for the upcoming exhibition in the SIL Gallery, National Museum of American History, Cultivating America’s Gardens.  Drawn mainly from the collections of the Smithsonian Libraries and Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens, it is a cooperative curatorial effort of both units.

A behind-the-scenes tour for Preservation Week

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 »

Preserving “Nimm Mich Mit!”

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.  

The Fix: Pest Damage

A book, The Flying Spy,  from the National Air and Space Museum Library came to the Book Conservation Lab with a unique, though not exactly rare, problem: Pest Damage.   As book lovers and good library patrons, we all know the importance of the proper handling of books. For example, we know to store them properly (up off the floor, away from damp conditions), handle them gently, and to not eat nor more »

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