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Staff Spotlight: Franky Moore, Preservation Science Specialist

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Bobbi Hinton authored this post based on interviews with Franky Moore.

Franky Moore joined the Library of Congress as a Preservation Science Specialist in July of 2023, but this isn’t his first time in the Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD).

Franky had a passion for chemistry, but partway through a nucleic acids lab in college, he liked it less. He couldn’t see where his research fit into the whole and knew that in whatever career he pursued, he wanted to see the impact of his work in action. In 2019, as a part of a science humanities program at his university, Franky had the opportunity to intern with PRTD. During his internship, Franky compared several pH methods and developed a good sense of paper characteristics.

Franky Moore working in the PRTD lab.

While he had seen a painting conservator at a museum once, it never occurred to him that preservation science existed as a career field. Franky was fascinated by the combination of science and humanities and loved to see decisions made and actions taken based upon the research performed. It also helped that he loved the PRTD staff, especially his mentor, Cindy Connelly Ryan. After his time with PRTD, Franky went back to school feeling renewed. He took museum studies courses and got a dual degree in history and chemistry – shoutout to Kelli Stoneburner and the many others in PRTD who have interdisciplinary backgrounds!

During the COVID-19 pandemic Franky was glad to have the opportunity to do a virtual Junior Fellowship Program with PRTD and the Library of Congress, continuing their pursuit of the heritage sciences. He worked with micro fade testing, primarily interpreting data, as he couldn’t be in the labs this time. Now, as full-time staff member, Franky has started being trained on how to perform the micro fade tests and is very excited to see the of this method!

As time passed Franky was on the fence about whether to pursue a PhD program in Analytical Chemistry, or a Masters of Conservation. He knew he really liked the heritage science field and wanted to follow it to the best of his abilities. He ended up going oversees for a year to study conservation, focusing his dissertation on analytical methods to hold fast to his chemistry roots.

His hard work paid off, and now his days typically consist of reading literature, training on various instruments, and the occasional “Hey, we’re doing something cool in the lab if you wanna join” from his coworkers. Franky is working with other staff to develop a statement of purpose for one of PRTD’s instruments, which includes troubleshooting, parameters to make it approachable for others, and common materials for testing. For anyone who’s looking to get into the cultural heritage field, Franky recommends reading research papers and seeing what interests you!

Outside of the office, Franky says he likes eating! He loves cooking, especially with friends, long walks, hiking, knitting, and any good craft really.

Something his coworkers may not know about him is that while he was overseas for university his climbing club advocated for a 3rd gendered category and Franky had the opportunity to participate in the 1st non-binary bouldering competition in the UK for universities – and he won first place! If you’ve never experienced a bouldering competition, each participant gets four minutes alone with the wall – while everyone in the competition sits and watches you. Franky is looking forward to getting back into rock climbing and bouldering once their leg is healed from a recent break.

 

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