Assessing the Impact of Sanitizing Products on Collection Items

This is a guest post by Cindy Connelly Ryan, a Preservation Science Specialist in the Preservation Research and Testing Division. Her research interests include the light sensitivity of inks, dyes and organic colorants, deterioration and stabilization of verdigris and iron gall ink, and historic recipes and working methods for artists’ materials. Over the ever-lengthening months […]

Preservation Research and Testing Division: What We Do!

This is a guest post authored by Fenella France. Fenella has been the Chief of the Preservation Research and Testing Division since 2011. She has a Ph.D and a master’s degree in textile science and a master’s degree in business administration, with over 30 years’ experience in heritage preservation science. In February 2020, the Preservation […]

Scenes from the Lab: Preservation of World War II Pacific Theater Relief Maps

This is a guest post authored by Jim Thurn. Jim is a book and paper conservator in the Collections Conservation Section of the Conservation Division at the Library of Congress. He studied conservation at the former Kilgarlin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record at the University of Texas at Austin. On December 7, 1941 […]

Preservation Projects: Diego Rivera’s Watercolors

Diego Rivera, well known for his reintroduction of large frescoes into modern art, was commissioned to create a series of illustrations for a book that would have been the first English translation of the Popol Vuh, the Maya creation story. Although the book was never published, the Library has three of the original illustrations, Creation, […]

Preservation with Instrumentation: Raman Spectroscopy

The Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) is equipped with many wonderful analytical tools to investigate the Library’s vast collection. Material identification is key for preservation; knowing what materials make up a particular object will guide preservation policies and treatments. PRTD has several different laboratories, including a non-invasive optical properties lab, which is generally where […]

Conservation at the Library: What We Do!

The Library of Congress stewards hundreds of thousands of paper-based and special format materials, and the Conservation Division at the Library employs a diverse staff of conservators, preservation specialists and technicians to treat and care for the incredible range of collections. Special collections materials, as well as the expansive general collection, are cared for according […]

But, What Is It? How Research Science Informs Preservation

I’m a research scientist and I’ve worked in a laser, microscopy, or spectroscopy laboratory (and sometimes a lovely combination of the three) for the past seventeen years. The last five of those years I’ve been lucky to call myself a Chemist at the Library of Congress, working in the optical properties lab of the Preservation […]