Happy Birthday Conservation! Today is our 10th Equipment Day, the day we celebrate the arrival from Germany of our large board shear and book presses. Conservation was consolidated into a unit in July 2002 as part of the Preservation Department. It took until April 2003 to get the large equipment here from Europe, in the mean time we did what we could with the equipment we had, including an old board shear that we found in a supply closet. Back then the lab was in two rooms with a public hallway going down the middle. Today we are in a beautiful lab space custom built for us during the last renovation phase.
When I started at Duke the lab had three technicians and myself. We now have 2.75FTE technicians and 3.25 FTE conservators, 0.5FTE students, and two volunteers. We’ve expanded our services from mostly general-collection conservation to a full suite of services for both general and special collections.
Since 2002 we have repaired over 66,000 books and manuscripts and created over 65,000 enclosures. I’m so very proud of the lab staff and how hard they work to keep our collections in good shape for our patrons. We of course have a lot of help from all over the library. Our colleagues are quick to send us anything in need of repair and we very much appreciate their help.
Looking back it is amazing where we have been and what we have accomplished. Looking forward I’m very excited about where we are going and can’t wait to share our story with you here on Preservation Underground. Happy birthday to us, and thank you all for reading.
The Conservation Unit was featured in the January/February 2010 edition of Duke Magazine. Included in the article are descriptions of the Conservation lab, the types of work performed by Conservation staff, and the different tools used.
We are currently digitizing our broadside collection. Before they go to the Digital Production Center, Conservation must prepare them by removing the old encapsulations and making sure they can be handled. There is additional information on this project over at the Digital Collections Blog.
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.
This fantastic exhibit shows how paste papers and marble papers are made, and how we use these papers in Conservation. It includes images from our recent paste paper workshop, sample images from papers found in the Jantz German Baroque and German Americana Collections, and binding models with hand-made decorated papers created by lab staff, and much more! Located in Perkins LL1, outside Room 023. Duke University Library staff may read more about this in the November 2008 IB.
The Preservation Department got its start in 2000. This exhibit looks at the development of the department from its beginning to our new space in Perkins Library. The exhibit includes a time line of important events in our history, images of digital projects and conservation treatments, as well as some artifacts that demonstrate what we do. Located in Perkins LL1, outside Room 023.
This year marks the Preservation Department’s tenth year serving the Duke University Libraries. This exhibit celebrates the work of the conservation laboratory by displaying a variety of different treatments from the libraries collections. The department is planning several events to mark the occasion which includes this exhibit, an open house, and interviews with staff members; for more information visit Preservation Underground.
The Preservation Department’s 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 to deepen our understanding of the history of the book, and develop knowledge and skills that help inform our daily conservation work.
Just before leaving Trent Hall, the Conservation staff took advantage of the outdoor space to participate in a paste paper workshop on July 31, 2008. This technique of creating decorative paper using pigments and wheat starch paste is one of the earliest forms used for covers and endpapers. It is commonly found on materials from the 16th to 18th centuries and is still used today.
We used samples from the Jantz collection as inspiration to create, and in some cases re-create, patterns that are both decorative as well as useful for our work. Working outside on a hot and humid summer day was interesting, especially when it rained and we had to move into the women’s restroom in Trent Hall. Luckily for us there was plenty of space in the old dorm restroom to complete our work! Duke University Library staff may read more about this in the September 2008 IB.
In other news, the Conservation Lab has returned to Perkins Library along with the Digital Production Center and Winston Atkins. We moved on August 25-26th, and have been unpacking and settling into our new space. At some point in the near future we hope to have a formal open house to officially open the new lab.