Written by Jennifer Blomberg, Senior Conservation Technician
Sometimes you just never know what will come through the lab for boxing. These items from the Doris Duke Archives were recently sent to us for custom enclosures. Boxing a Louisville Slugger baseball bat, a football, and weathervane can present obvious challenges due to their unusual shapes and dimensions. To read more about the provenance of these materials, please see the Rubenstein Library’s blog post.
Goals for Housing
The main goals for creating these housings were to protect the fragile materials while providing easy access for researchers. They had to fit the unusual shape and dimensions of the materials, keep them from shifting inside the box, and allow them to be shelved easily with other archival materials. Designing and fabricating these boxes offered a real challenge.
Creating the Enclosures
I made “telescoping” boxes for the baseball bat and weathervane. This type of box consists of a bottom tray that fits the object, and a separate lid that fits over the bottom tray. The football got a standard drop-spine or “clamshell” box. Each tray was lined with Volara foam to provide cushioning for the object.
Overall, I am content with the final enclosures and believe that they achieve the goals that we sought out to accomplish. These will provide supportive and protective enclosures, while also making them available and accessible to researchers.
The TTV came in a small box with all of the models inside. Obviously a box half the size of a Twinkie would disappear in the stacks and make access difficult. While these models aren’t fragile per se, they are delicate and the little houses had no real protection.
Our goals for the final housing were three-fold
The new enclosure had to be big enough to go to the stacks
Each little house needed its own compartment for safety and security
You needed to be able to lift out each model with your giant fingers
I thought this would be easy, but it took a lot of trial and error to figure it out. I grabbed a standard Metal-Edge box meant to house cabinet cards and started experimenting. Here’s what I did:
Created a tray with a compartment for each house
Built up the inside so that the models would be level with the top of the box
Inset the original box so it was at the same level as the models
Lined the lid with Volara to provide a cushion should they get shaken
Labeled the box with big “Fragile-Do Not Tilt” labels
The Final Box
While each model can still move around in its compartment, they don’t knock into each other and you can still get your fingers in to take them out. You can also quickly tell if one is missing since each compartment should be occupied.
Although I would likely do something a bit different if I were asked to house this again, I think this enclosure achieves the goals and will provide more protection than the original box.