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Category: Conservation

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

Preservation Week 2022: Fragments, Discovery and Creating Knowledge

Posted by: Tana Villafana

Every year the Preservation Directorate of the Library of Congress participates in American Library Association’s Preservation Week. This annual celebration highlights preservation efforts in libraries, archives, museums, historical societies and collecting institutions in communities all across the country. Fenella France, Chief of the Library’s Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD), started out Preservation Week with a heritage scientific introduction to the world of fragments.

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

Conservation Treatment of a WWI Panoramic Photograph, Scenes from the Nelson W. Jordan family papers

Posted by: Samantha Schireson

Conservation Treatment of a WWI Panoramic Photograph, a guest post by Alisha Chipman, Senior Photograph Conservator in the Conservation Division at the Library of Congress. This panorama is part of the Nelson W. Jordan family papers held by the Manuscripts Division. Nelson W. Jordan (1842-1922) was born enslaved in Albermarle County, Virginia.

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

Pandemic-era Testing for a New Exhibit Takes a Highly Trained (and Masked!) Village

Posted by: Tana Villafana

Staff at the Library of Congress love to showcase the collections with the public. As exhibitions are being planned , the Conservation Division (CD) and Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) have been collaborating to assess the items selected for display. As part of this process, staff in CD typically review every item in an exhibition to determine how to safely display it. This review includes evaluating possible treatments, the kinds of mounts or cradles for display, and various ways that lighting might affect the item.

Kathryn Kenney tensioning a parchment manuscript fragment using clips and pins. Photo credit Cathie Magee .

Preserving Evidence of Use: The Conservation of a Teaching Collection of Medieval Manuscript Fragments

Posted by: Samantha Schireson

Prior to the rise of printing, medieval libraries were filled with handwritten, manuscript books and documents. Many of those items no longer exist in their original form; some were thrown away when their contents became outdated or no longer useful, others were discarded and replaced with printed books. But some were taken apart, and their covers and pages were repurposed. Some of these pages, which are called fragments, can be found in the collections of The Library of Congress. This post is about a project to conserve these fragments.

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

What Have We to Do with Any Thing but Love?

Posted by: Tana Villafana

This is a guest post written by Meghan Wilson, a Preservation Science Specialist in the Preservation Researching and Testing Division. Meghan runs PRTD’s multispectral imaging system, often unveiling the invisible within the Library’s collection. Amidst the Revolution, Alexander Hamilton sought solace in his love for Elizabeth Schuyler. Their correspondence is filled with moments of fondness, …

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

Reflections on War

Posted by: Tana Villafana

This is a guest post by Cindy Connelly Ryan, a Preservation Science Specialist in the Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD). Her research areas include the light sensitivity of inks, dyes and organic colorants, deterioration and stabilization of verdigris and iron gall ink, technical study of collection items, and re-creating obsolete historic recipes for artists’ …

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

Meet Librarian-in-Residence, Sarah Hesler!

Posted by: Samantha Schireson

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for the Library of Congress? Each year the Library selects a group of promising early-career library professionals to gain meaningful experience in diverse library service areas such as Archives and Special Collections, Collection Preservation, and Reference and Instruction to name a few! Last year …