Category Archives: Exhibits

Mastering Craft

Mastering Craft: Interpreting Historic Bookbindings

Our new exhibit highlights work from the Triangle Research Libraries (TRLN) Master Bookbinders Group. Our group consists of staff members from the conservation labs of UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State and Duke University libraries.

Its purpose is to research historic bookbindings so we can deepen our understanding of the history of the book, and develop knowledge and skills that help inform our daily conservation work.

Creating binding models is a traditional form of learning the craft of bookbinding and the history of the book. Each quarter we assign a binding style to one or two of our members. Our volunteer teachers research the history of the binding and how it was traditionally made, and demonstrate it to the rest of the group. We then make our models, sometimes recreating the binding exactly and sometimes interpreting them more artistically.

The exhibit will be up through January 2011, just outside the Conservation Lab in Perkins Library 023. It is open when the library is open.

10 Years, 10 Treatments

Yesterday we installed our exhibit “Ten Years, Ten Treatments.” As part of our year-long celebration of our tenth anniversary, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite work.

The exhibit is outside the Biddle Reading Room on the first floor of Perkins. While there, you can also see our display in the wall cases (on the opposite wall from the exhibit) that gives ten tips you can use to save your personal collections.
Our exhibit will be up through mid-October. We are planning a companion exhibit of Ten Projects from the Digital Production Center to be installed in our exhibit space on the Lower Level of Perkins outside the Conservation Lab. Hopefully we will have that up next week, we’ll let you know when that happens.

Tin Foil Men Artwork Exposed (Almost)


We blogged before about the tin foil art that crops up on campus. Recently the artist surprised us with a few men climbing the exhibit cases. The whole library was abuzz and the story was picked up by the Devil’s Tale. In today’s Chronicle, Shining Li wrote a column about the student who creates this artwork.

“As it turns out, they’re made by a soft-spoken and thoughtfully philosophical student at Duke, who prefers anonymity. After picking up the skill at a young age, “bin Fuad” (a code name he specified upon our introduction) can now make each foil man in less than five minutes—and he makes, he said, sometimes a hundred at once to scatter across campus. At other times, he shapes just one based on a passing fancy and leaves it wherever it strikes him as a fitting location.”

Whoever “bin Fuad” is, we want to say thanks for brightening our world just a little bit.

‘From Caricature to Comic Strip’

On Monday we helped install the new exhibit in the Perkins Gallery. “Abusing Power” is curated by Neil McWilliam, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, and several of his students in his course “From Caricature to Comic Strip.” It coincides with another exhibit now at the Nasher Museum called “Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature,” on display until May 16, 2010.

We love working with Meg Brown, Exhibits Curator for Perkins Library. Conservation creates many of the book supports you see in the exhibit space. We also help install the exhibits, being sure the items are well supported and in good condition for viewing. It’s great to work collaboratively in this way, and so much fun to see the new exhibit take shape. I especially enjoy seeing all of the students, faculty and staff stop to see what is happening in the space and what’s coming next. Frankly, I just love getting out of the basement and into the thick of things for a change.

I invite you to come by and see the wonderful display of 19th Century materials and learn a little about the evolution of caricatures as an art form. Be sure to check out Devil’s Tale for more on this exhibit. The online images from the exhibit were made in the Digital Production Center.

Exhibit Case Art


Some enterprising person left us a little something on the exhibit case over the weekend. Is this perhaps an ode to the great sculptor Alberto Giacometti and the recent record breaking sale of his “Walking Man”? Who knows, what I do know is it made me smile on this grey Monday morning.

I was able to take a couple of images before someone cleaned them up. Perhaps this artist is on the way to selling their artwork for $104.3 million per piece just like Giacometti. One can only dream.

Later today we will be helping to install the next exhibit called “Abusing Power: Satirical Journals from the Special Collections Library” which coincides with the Nasher Museum exhibit “Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature.”

New Preservation Exhibit

Come visit the new Preservation exhibit, Mixed Blood: Conservation Work and Decision-Making in Support of the Study of Racial History. Curated by Mary Yordy, this exhibit highlights materials held by the Duke University Libraries pertaining to the study of mixed racial heritage. Crossing multiple disciplines and reflecting cultural influences that are international in scope, items from these collections are used heavily and frequently by students, faculty, and scholars. Within this exhibit, the materials show the necessity of conservation work and preservation care to ensure the long term use and availability for future scholars. Located in Perkins LL1, outside Room 023.