Tag Archives: verne and tanya roberts conservation lab

Happy 11th Equipment Day!

The Schimanek board shear (big box on left) and book presses (on right) arrive at the loading dock in 2003.
The Schimanek board shear (big crate on left) and book presses (on right) arrive at the loading dock in 2003.

Equipment Day is our lab’s official birthday. While the conservation lab as we know it began in July 2002, our large equipment didn’t land on the loading dock until spring 2003. It was then that the lab felt “real.”

We’ve come a long way since 2002. We’ve expanded our staff, purchased additional large equipment, and even spent some time in the old nurses’ dormitory during renovation.

Old lab in 2002.
Old conservation lab in 2002.
Verne and Tanya Roberts Conservation Lab 2014
Verne and Tanya Roberts Conservation Lab in 2014 (photo Mark Zupan).

Thanks to the Digital Production Center for scanning our historic photos. Check out what the lab looks like now on Flickr and on YouTube.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 10th Birthday Conservation Services Department!

Special Delivery!
The new book presses and board shear arrived from Germany in April 2003. The first large equipment for the young Conservation Unit, then part of the Preservation Department.

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.

 

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The Verne and Tanya Roberts Conservation Lab opened in 2008.

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.

1091 Project: Interview With A Conservator

This month as part of the 1091 project we are presenting an interview with our paper conservator, Grace White. Regular readers will remember that Grace joined the staff last year. Since then, she has worked on a variety of things including some very, very large WWI posters; she curated an exhibit on the tools of the trade; and has helped with a lot of the renovation prep, including the papyri rehousing project. Grace also writes the quarterly “What’s In The Lab” series for the Devil’s Tale.

In this interview, Grace discusses what she does, how she came to the conservation profession, her favorite treatment as well as her favorite tool. Check out our other staff interviews from our “10 Years, 10 People” series, and be sure to click over to Parks Library Preservation for their interview!