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Close-up view of two hands carefully at work on an aged, yellowing manuscript with handwriting

Preservation Research and Testing Division: What We Do!

Posted by: Tana Villafana

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 …

An overlay of a ditigal and processed image of Rivera's watercolor, Creation.

Preservation Projects: Diego Rivera’s Watercolors

Posted by: Tana Villafana

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, …

Close-up view of two hands carefully at work on an aged, yellowing manuscript with handwriting

Preservation with Instrumentation: Raman Spectroscopy

Posted by: Tana Villafana

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 …

Close-up view of two hands carefully at work on an aged, yellowing manuscript with handwriting

At-Risk: Preserving Access Through Reformatting

Posted by: Aaron D. Chaletzky

What does the Library do when certain collection items are so worn they cannot be served for fear of further damage? What actions can be taken to prevent the loss of content from the eventual failure of certain technology? How about migrating content from one preservation technology to another, more usable and accessible one? In …

Close-up view of two hands carefully at work on an aged, yellowing manuscript with handwriting

Conservation at the Library: What We Do!

Posted by: Samantha Schireson

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 …

Close-up view of two hands carefully at work on an aged, yellowing manuscript with handwriting

But, What Is It? How Research Science Informs Preservation

Posted by: Tana Villafana

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 …