Professional Development

In the 'NCPC' Category...

Preserving Objects and Artifacts: Conservation Science, Collection Care and Outreach

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 4:47 pm

On Friday, November 5, the North Carolina Preservation Consortium held it’s annual conference at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The theme was centered around the preservation care of objects and outreach efforts to enlighten viewers about these efforts.

The first speaker was Chris Petersen, a volunteer at Winterthur Museum’s Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory. What kind of person volunteers at a lab? In this case, a PhD in Organic Chemistry retired from Dupont. Chris showed analysis of various objects which helps with dating and dating these objects. Most of these objects, had a big question associated with them like the composition of the Liberty Bell or the date of manufacture of a Meissen (Germany) soup tureen. His explanations using organic chemistry diagrams were convincing, although puzzling to a non-chemist. He also had the comical duty of verifying a “Vampire Killing Kit” sent to him. All the Twilight and True Blood people’s ears perked up and a chill went through the crowd as he discussed this convincing fraud.

Jane Klinger, Chief Conservator at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC followed. As Chief Conservator, Jane is responsible of the conservation and preservation management of the museum, archives and library collections. Interestingly, Jane started by saying the materials in their collection have little real value-but these materials are invaluable for Holocaust denial and evidence for verifying historic events. Jane used a series of objects from the Holocaust to tell her story of the multiple issues involved in preserving these materials. She began with Selma Scharzwald and her teddy bear. Selma, who went by the name “Sophie” named her teddy bear “Refugee” and kept it with her throughout the war as she and her mother took an assumed identity to escape persecution. This teddy bear became so popular that efforts were made to protect it from being ‘loved’ to death. Now, reproductions can be purchased in the museum shop. Other unique items, like “Schindler’s Violin” and the Lodz Ghetto model were removed from exhibition to protect them from the elements such as humidity and dust. Klinger described lots of give and take as they tried to balance their patrons desires to see artifacts with conservation needs.

Emily Williams, Conservator of Archeological Materials at Colonial Williamsburg described her project: Conservation : Where Art and Science Meet. This exhibit at Colonial Williamsburg describes the process conservators use to preserve objects and attempts to explain the how’s and why’s of their process. The video and podcast backup the ideas in this exhibit of identifying the issues in conservation, treating conservators as heroes and using case studies of objects.

The final presentation was by Christina Cole, the Andrew W. Mellon Conservation Fellow at the University of Delaware Art Conservation Program. Cristina explained the “three-legged stool” concept of art conservation: 1. Art History, 2. Studio Art and 3. Chemistry to educate their students. Graduates from their program are working in the best museums around the world.

This was a great conference-as usual-and well worth the trip to experience, learn and network.

Basic Book Repair Workshop, Manteo, NC

Sunday, September 26, 2010 3:54 pm

Basic Book Repair Workshop-Manteo

On Friday, September 24, my colleague Rachel Hoff and I taught a Basic Book Repair Workshop at the Dare County Library through NCPC. Rachel and I have been teaching workshops together for over five years and we often find that our teaching styles and knowledge work well together as we present our material. Rachel also helped us present similar material during the recent Preserving Forsyth’s Past grant.

I had a lengthy handout for each of the twelve participants, who came from as far away as Appalachian State in Boone, but also from Duke and libraries in the surrounding area. The information in the handouts was a combination of the history of the book and paper-making, preservation terms and concepts, disaster preparedness and instructional sheets on the techniques I would be presenting.

I began by discussing the value of simply re-housing paper materials in such items as: archival boxes, envelopes and sleeves. An institution without preservation or repair staff can protect their materials easily by simply putting them inside a box or other protective enclosure. I followed this with a progressively complex range of repairs: tipping in loose pages, paper tears, repairing loose hinges with Japanese paper, consolidating paperback books, tightening hinges and spine replacement. We also held a question and answer session. Each class usually comes with unique problems and this provided the attendees with the opportunity to ask these questions.

This was a good class and provided the attendees the chance to learn techniques, tools, suppliers and best practices for repairs. This knowledge will help them as they return to their institution and incorporate repair into their work-flow.

Basic Book Repair Workshop, UNC Charlotte’s J. Murrey Atkins Library

Monday, July 26, 2010 11:53 am

Repair Workshop at UNC Charlotte

Repair Workshop at UNC Charlotte

On Friday, July 23, I taught a Basic book Repair Workshop at UNC Charlotte for 18 attendees from around the region. The attendees came from as far as Duke, Greensboro College, UNC-Charlotte, Johnson & Wales University, Rowan County Public Library and Central Piedmont Community College.
The workshop was hosted by my colleague Katie McCormick, Special Collections Librarian at the Atkins Library. We began the day with a discussion of terms, tools and supplies. I pointed out the key tools used in book repair: a bone folder, micro-spatula, PVA-the adhesive of choice for book repair, and good suppliers to obtain these materials. We didn’t go too deeply into terminology, but I did underscore the concept of using acid-free/archival supplies(pH neutral) in their work to ensure the longest life for the work they do with their books and other materials. We also passed around the ZSR Disaster Plan and talked about the importance of this in libraries. I mentioned some of the disasters we have experienced at ZSR and our response.
Before we actually began work, I also wanted to point out the usefulness of enclosures. For libraries with small budgets and no preservation staff, simply enclosing rare, old or brittle materials is a good way to lengthen their viability. We passed around a series of archival boxes, sleeves and envelopes.
I covered a series of simple repairs from the very basic: tipping-in a loose page to replacing a damaged spine. We also practiced repairing torn pages with heat-set tissue, repairing a broken hinge with Japanese paper, attaching loose signatures, tightening hinges and replacing end sheets.
This information is needed by every library and it is something that is hard to learn by reading a book or online tutorial. You really need someone to demonstrate these techniques. The class was very attentive, laughed politely at my feeble attempts at humor, and all seemed to be pleased at day’s end. The next book repair workshop is scheduled for Manteo in September.

Fundraising for Preservation

Saturday, November 14, 2009 12:29 pm

NCPC Annual Conference Fundraising for Preservation
Nov. 13, 2009 Friday Center Chapel Hill, NC

As NCPC President, I had the pleasure of welcoming 50 attendees and talking about NCPC projects and grants in the past year. NCPC gave over $6,000 in grants last year, two of which were to institutions in Forsyth County (WFU Museum of Anthropology and Forsyth Co. Public Library). I was also able to meet two colleagues from the WFU Anthropology Museum who attended the conference .

Diane Vogt-O'Connor

The first speaker (who once worked at Wayne State) was:
Diane Vogt O’Connor- Chief of Conservation, Library of Congress
“Finding Funds to Conserve and Preserve your Collections:
Diane has written over 25 successful grants in her career.
Her key points were:
• Everyone needs money these days
• Start by getting permission from your organization
• Identify and sell the CONCEPT(who it affects) not the BRAND (how you will do the work)
• Tell your grant funder what will happen if the project isn’t funded-you are answering the question-why bother with this project?
• Research where the easy money in your community is. Look for groups that share your interests and concerns, and look for what they have funded in the past
• Network and make contacts, so they know who you are and what you do…schmooze
• Know what’s hot and what’s not-select projects that are trendy, new technologies
• Pre-plan your project completely
• Avoid the obvious sources of funding and look at foundations nationally and locally
• NC grant sources- Duke Endowment, Foundation for the Carolinas, Janirve Foundation, Lowes Foundation
• Become a grant reviewer to learn what grant funders are looking for
• She recommended this book-Foundation Grants for Preservation in Libraries, Archives and Museums-Library of Congress, Foundation Center(2009) ISBN 978-1-59542-210-1
• A good application includes:
• Strong statement of who the project audience and stakeholders are
• A clear explanation of why the project is necessary
• A succinct statement of what will happen if the project is not funded
• A brief overview of all project staff members
• A summary of what the project results will be
• A statement about how the project results will be measurable and how they will be disseminated
• A brief project methodology
• Coherent budget and resources list
• List of endorsing individuals
• Staff and contributor resumes, CV’s, etc.

Kristen Laise, Heritage Preservation, VP Collections Care Programs
“Raising Funds for Collections Care”
• Few institutions have a budget for conservation/preservation and many do not raise funds for this purpose. Some do not have time, are unaware of sources for funding or said preservation was not a priority. Preservation awareness (programs, web site, exhibits, etc) is also not often used to raise awareness about this issue.
• Create a line item in the budget for collections care
• Give a presentation to trustees on collections care needs
• Apply for smaller grant to begin with
• Create an exhibit area to feature preservation progress/process
• She recommended- NEH Preservation Assistance grant($6000)-consultations for assessments from a professional

Dwain Teague, Director of Development, NC State University Libraries

Dwain raise funds and courts donors for the NCSU Library. His brief presentation had these ideas:
-they have designed a small booklet with naming/gift opportunities
-hosting a meet -and- greet or VIP tour
-listen to donors for subtle hints of areas they might be interested in supporting
-utilize volunteers/friends groups- they have contacts you can use
-Cross Cultivation- use the campus fund raisers to work together to raise funds-ask them to bring people by library on tours
-Let development people know what is going on in preservation so they can use it in their work raising funds
-Aladdin-Academic Library Advancement Development Network- listserv of museums and libraries discussing fundraising
-Find out what ‘floats the donor’s boat’ and see how that can mesh with your preservation needs

Nancy Odegaard, Head of Preservation Division, Arizona State Museum

“Saving a Southwest Collection at the Arizona State Museum”
Nancy put together an array of donor gifts, grants and local funding to generate a huge project for her museum:
• The museum has a large collection from 100 years of collecting-mostly anthropological pieces-mostly pottery. Nancy discussed the problem of soluble salts in their collections. Their collections actually absorb salts from the environment and are then deteriorated by these salts. This is caused by dry, arid environment.
• The Pottery Project received federal funds in the Save Americas Treasures Program. Jointly funded by several local Indian tribes in Arizona, Governor Janet Napolitano, NEA, National Science Foundation and other groups, this program resulted in a $3.5 million 3000 sq. ft. climate-controlled storage vault, a state of the art conservation lab and a new pottery exhibit gallery. She discussed the collaborative efforts to get funding, consultations with Indian tribes, marketing and some of the problems they encountered.
• They got state-of- the-art temperature, humidity and light controls. New labs for working, new offices, exhibit hall, better security, lecture space and marketing and memberships as a result of this project.

Susan Mathisen, President of S.A.M. Fundraising Solutions
“Where to find individual fund Raising Sources”
Susan is an individual fund raiser and advises institutions on getting donations:
• 75% of capital giving comes from individuals-they have none of the restrictions that foundations have
• Where do you find them? Look within to those who have an existing connection to your institution: members, alumni, frequent users, donors, etc. Cultivate relationships with them, take them out to dinner, invite them in and show them what you do, and what needs to be done. Tell a story about your collections and how the donor’s gift can preserve it.
• People don’t want to be asked to donate by a development director, but by one of their peers.
• It takes about 18 months from beginning to end when asking a donor for money
• Look for those who give to similar causes and lists-colleagues, organizations
• Try teaching philanthropy to a group of kids and have them do a fund-raising project for you
• Develop a list of potential donors and study them: FIND, CULTIVATE, MOTIVATE
• Asking- is often the hardest part
• Stewardship- continue the relationship with the donor after the gift. Let them see how well their money is being spent with their gift.
The NCPC Conference this year featured five expert speakers and was filled with great information. Fund raising is a timely topic for these days of tight budgets. I learned a lot, got some good ideas, and feel like the participants did as well.

May 9-15, 2010 is the first National Preservation Day

North Carolina Preservation Consortium Annual Conference

Friday, November 21, 2008 3:36 pm

Friday Center, Chapel Hill

On Thursday, November 20, the North Carolina Preservation Consortium held it’s annual conference at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill, NC. The topic this year was “Cultural Respect in Preservation and Conservation”. There were four speakers at the conference, all from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.

The first speaker was Michele Cloonan, Dean of the Library School at Simmons College in Boston. Cloonan has written extensively on preservation topics, and began the Preservation Program at Brown University. Her topic, “Preserving Collections with a “Respect More Tender, More Holy, and More Profound” focused broadly on respect for cultural property and especially library collections. She discussed the ideas of ethics and moral philosophy and how these affect our decision-making and the prioritization of our materials. She discussed the idea of a book: a book is an object, but it is also a living, breathing thing in the sense it is the embodiment of ideas-and ideas are alive. Cloonan believes preservation should extend broadly to both the book as object and to the ideas contained within it. Michele kept comparing the idea of preservation and cultural respect to the layers on an onion. She stated that preservation has power in it-like an onion has the power to bring tears- she mentioned the bombing of the Buddha in Afghanistan which brought a strong reaction, and some tears as well.

The following speaker was Marian Kamintz, Head of Conservation at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Kamintz spoke on the topic of “Conservation in Collaboration with Native American Communities”. Her main emphasis was on how the museum used collaboration to understand and interpret cultural layers of meaning. Often, Native American communities have individuals who possess traditional skills or knowledge. The museum meets with these individuals to understand materials in their collection, how and why these items were made, how to interpret them and sometimes, how to conserve or restore them. By using different ways of asking questions of native peoples in their consultations, the museum is able to understand their collection more fully-and as a result interpret these for the public. Kamintz focused on three major consultations over objects which garnered the museum much needed information: Siltez Dance regalia (Oregon), Passamaquoddy birch bark canoe (Maine) and a Hamsaml raven mask (Canada). In the case of the Siletz dance regalia, the museum was able to loan this item to the tribe for the first use of this item in an actual dance since it was outlawed in the 19th century.

After lunch, Karen Jefferson, Head of Archives and Special Collections at the Atlanta University Center spoke. Karen previously worked at the John Hope Franklin Research Center at Duke, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Howard University. Her talk was entitled: “Serving Many Masters: Legacy Collections in Archives. She spoke of the many entanglements which often arise as individuals or their families give materials to archives. Her library represents 5 universities in the Atlanta area, including Moorhouse College, which recently received the papers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The King papers are considered not only to be research materials, but ritual objects of veneration. Jefferson made the point that African-American women are often neglected by history while men are not. This is an issue Jefferson is not happy about. She said one of the intrinsic problems in collecting from African-American individuals is that often they don;t have “papers”. Civil Rights activists often don’t have a retirement-so their stuff IS their legacy and their only asset. This is difficult to sort out for archivists. For instance, for the MLK papers: the family holds the copyright, Moorhouse College owns the collection and Jefferson’s library is custodian of the collection.

Corine Wegener, Blue Shield

Corine Megener, US Committee for the Blue Shield

The final speaker, and the most compelling, was Corine Wegener, President of the US Committee for the Blue Shield. This group is like the Red Cross for cultural property. Wegener spoke on “The Looting of the Iraq Museum and Cultural Respect during Armed Conflict.” Wegener is a retired Major from the US Army and served 13 years as a Civil Affairs Officer, tasked with protecting cultural property in Bosnia, Africa and Iraq. She described getting permission to go to Iraq in 2003 to help protect materials from the Iraq National Museum which had been damaged in the looting. Since Iraq is the “cradle of civilization”, the items in the museum were historically unique and internationally important. The damage to the museum affected the building and contents, the collections and all the computers. Since all the museums computers were taken, there was no inventory to refer to. This made identifying lost objects difficult. Many objects, such as was cylinder seals, were small, not catalogs, and easy to remove in quantity. fortunately, much of the collection was hidden by curators before the looting began. Many of the items in the collection, however, are still missing-and some have been seized as far away as New York City. This presentation was fascinating. Wegener discussed going to a bombed Iraqui Secret Police building. The basement was flooded because the water pipes were destroyed in the bombing-and many Jewish books, apparently being held secretly in this basement, were submerged or floating. They immediately froze the books on a semi trailer from Jordan, and shipped them to the National Archives. Wegener stated the dilemma: you are not supposed to remove cultural property from it’s home country! The problem is there are no Jews left in Baghdad-the few remaining were removed during the 2003 invasion. So what do we do with this stuff that isn’t ours and has no home to return it to?

An amazing day of information and networking with peers across North Carolina. I was especially gratified to acknowledge 4 scholarship recipients to our conference. this gets our name in front of new professionals and lets them experience a preservation conference and meet leaders from across our state.

Craig Fansler

NCPC Basic Book Repair Workshop at ECU

Sunday, January 27, 2008 3:42 pm
NCPC Basic Book Repair Workshop at ECU

NCPC Basic Book Repair Workshop, ECU Jan 24-25, 2008

Laupus Medical Sciences Library, East Carolina University

For two days, my colleague, Rachel Hoff and I, discussed and taught preservation concepts and treatments. It was two day-long Basic Book Repair Workshops sponsored by NCPC. Rachel and I have been teaching these workshops for several years both together and individually as our schedule permits. To prepare for this task, in 2004, we both received a 2-day training course at the Etherington Conservation Center in Greensboro. I also assisted Matt Johnson, ECC Book Conservator on one of his workshops.

The classes were filled with library staff from the eastern portion of North Carolina, many from ECU, but also the NC State Archives, Elizabeth City State, Campbell University, UNC-Chapel Hill and many school librarians. We discussed the library environment-cleaning, mold, dust, pest management, etc. and also covered the key preservation issues of “Do No Harm”, reversibility, and appropriate adhesives. Because this was a basic workshop, we also covered tools and assembling a tool kit, reference books (we gave them a bibliography) and web sites for preservation, and suppliers (they received a list). Each participant also received a glossary of preservation terminology, a diagram of the parts of a book, and step by step instructions on spine replacement, tearing Japanese paper and the use of heat-set tissue. We also briefly discussed disaster recovery and treatment solutions.

After the hour long discussion, the rubber hit the road. Rachel demonstrated various methods of tipping in loose pages and hinge tightening methods. Following this, I demonstrated the spine replacement my own students do. We completed making a new spine piece for each book and following a nice lunch overlooking the Medical Sciences campus, we glued the new spine piece into each book. This spine replacement is a tried and true method that I hope will be used by each person when they return home. Rachel has her own version of this spine replacement technique, which she also demonstrated. We also demonstrated using heat-set tissue to repair paper tears and tearing Japanese paper for hinge reinforcement.

Questions abounded from the classes all day long: “should we use tape on that; what do I do when the top edge of the spine is pulling off; is Filmoplast Ok to use; this is too long, do I cut it off, or leave it”.

These workshops are gratifying because many individuals are not able to get this training and are very appreciative of our workshops. The skill level of the participants can range from experienced preservationists to bona fide ‘tapers’. This is a good way to give back to those in our profession by sharing our knowledge and skill. Each time I do a workshop, I feel very fortunate to have all the resources I have to do my job.

Following the first day of the workshop, I decided to visit the Preservation Lab at ECU’s Joyner Library. When I asked at the Circulation Desk, the student didn’t know there was a Preservation Lab. I walked a few steps and saw it listed on the map as being on the very same floor. We both laughed as he called the Preservation Staff, who to my surprise, had been in our workshop that day! ECU has a wonderful lab-it is open, with multiple work spaces for the staff and students, lots of equipment (fume hood, de-acidification sprayer, ultrasonic welder for encapsulation of documents, a 6′ board shear, numerous presses, and job backers, a sewing cradle, and tons of supplies. Each student who works in Preservation has their own work bench-impressive!

The ECU workshops were enriching to me and hopefully, the participants, who were sent home with a packet of information and repair techniques to improve the condition of their own library’s collection.

Vicki at NCPC’s annual Conference

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 12:13 pm

On Friday, Nov. 2nd, Sharon and I attended the annual conference of the North Carolina Preservation Consortium at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The topic of the conference was The Great Migration: Audio Preservation in the Digital Age. The keynote speakers addressed many aspects of preserving audio materials in a time that there are more materials out there than a typical repository can juggle.

Sam Brylawsaki, from the Donald C. Davidson Library at UCSB, gave some practical guidelines for audio preservation, including how to store records and cassettes; they should be put on the shelves vertically instead of horizontally to avoid cracking and breakage from the weight of other materials on top of them. He also stressed to SAVE THE ORIGINALS! Don’t dump them to make shelf space after they’ve been reformatted. Why, you ask? We want to preserve the imperfections which don’t always transfer to the new medium, and more importantly, because most CD’s and DVD’s today are NOT good preservation mediums. They are an interim choice at best, until a better way is developed.

Sam knows his stuff, since he worked for many years at the Library of Congress as head of the Recorded Sound Section in its Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. He is also editor of UCSB’s Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings. He had slides that vividly showed the damage that can be caused by improper storage of materials, as well as the proper types of facilities and storage areas to make sure that originals are well protected.

George Blood, from Safe Sound Archive, gave a very technical talk about Magnetic Tape and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: The Science and Psychology of Audio Preservation for Archivists and Librarians. Mr. Blood has documented over 4000 live events and has recorded and edited som 600 nationally-syndicated radio programs, most of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has recorded or produced over 100 CD’s, 2 of which were nominated for Grammy Awards.

He discussed the types of originals that need reformatting, such as LPs, 78′s, CD’s, CDR’s, and analog reel-to-reel tapes. He also went into great detail about the scientific structure of sound waves, and how they transfer from originals to new mediums. The reformatted copy usually misses some of the sounds from the originals, which means that we want to save the original as well, for as long as it will last.

Mr. Blood had some audio clips that he played for us, to demonstrated the importance of having a professional recording engineer do the transfer to the new medium, vs. having a grad student undertake the same project. The difference was amazing! The student captured the basics of the audio, but it was clear that much was missing from the final product when he played a piece that had been professionally transferred. Alas, the cost of hiring a professional is many times cost-prohibitive to most institutions.

Some additional resources that were offered were these links:


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