How do you keep books and manuscripts that are hundreds of years old safe and ready to be used? By having a world-class conservation lab.
The conservation team focuses its work on conserving and preserving the Folger collections for generations to come, while supporting accessibility for researchers and exhibition visitors today.
This involves the repair and stabilizing of collection materials (books, art, manuscripts) to slow down deterioration and ensure that the items are as safe as possible to handle. It also includes monitoring and advising on the library’s storage environments as well as exhibition preparations and installations.
The conservation and preservation team performs complex conservation treatments on rare items utilizing the code of ethics as specified by the American Institute for Conservation. When a particular treatment for a collection item falls outside of staff capacity, the team is responsible for outsourcing that treatment to other conservation professionals.
Ensuring a Safe Environment
It doesn’t do any good to treat items in our collections if the conditions they’re stored and handled in are detrimental to their long-term survival. So another important aspect of conservation’s duties are to ensure a safe environment for all of our materials. Doing this involes:
- Environmental condition recommendations and monitoring in collections spaces
- Emergency preparedness guidelines and training exercises
- Integrated pest management in all collection areas
- Management of collections spaces
Twill tape, plus toggles, plus toggler, equals quick-ties
A Conservation Intern’s Observations on STC 2608
A guest post by Kevin Cilurzo (with particular thanks to Adrienne Bell) For a conservator, to disbind and rebind a book is a rare chance to study and understand its binding structure. With broken sewing and loose detached leaves, Folger…
Using cardboard spacers to fill gaps on the shelf
Sometimes the simplest tools are the best. This post is a tribute to the humble hunk of folded cardboard.1 Cardboard spacer filling the gap on the shelf while two large volumes are in use. All photos are by me, Erin…
A late 15th-century tapestry fragment with visible restorations
Yes, indeed, the Folger collection item the March 2020 Crocodile Mystery is two-toned because of fading (and yes, indeed, it is a tapestry). Congratulations and thanks to Elisabeth, Ed, and Carolyn for their comments. The mystery wasn’t quite solved, though:…
Stuff in Books: a conundrum
When we think of book history, most of us focus on the creation, dissemination, and reception of texts. But as many scholars have begun to discuss in the last few years, books and manuscripts ended up being used in many…