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Category: Heritage Science

One person crouching to record information at the base of the stacks.

Reflections of a Librarian-in-Residence in Preservation

Posted by: Bobbi Hinton

The following is a guest post by Lauren Quackenbush, Librarian-in-Residence, Preservation Division. The Librarian-in-Residence (LIR) program was created in 2018 for newly graduated librarian students to gain invaluable experience at the Library of Congress. LIRs are assigned throughout the Library, this year’s 2023 cohort consisted of 5 recent graduates. As the LIR in Preservation, I …

Upcoming: Charting New Discoveries of the Manuscript Map of the Dagua River Region

Posted by: Amelia Parks

The Manuscript Map of the Dagua River Region, created in 1764, depicts a remote gold mining frontier in today’s Colombia. Art historian Juliet Wiersema and preservation scientist Meghan Hill will share results from their collaborative analysis which unearthed stories about African resilience, resistance, adaptation, entrepreneurship, and survival within the Spanish empire. A scientific examination of this map further draws back the curtain on how this large watercolor map was assembled using pigments and paper from across the empire.

A girl with dark brown hair and glasses smiles.

The Art of Color Analysis: Using Analytical Chemistry in Pigment Research

Posted by: Bobbi Hinton

Preservation Science Intern Jessica McKenzie breaks down some applications of analytical chemistry in the Library of Congress, where she uses Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy to expand the Preservation Research and Testing Division’s database for pigment analysis. She then demonstrates how she has assisted in applying her work to collection items.

Team members stand in a lab space reviewing a piece of parchment skin together.

Of Inks and Skins, and the Stories They Tell

Posted by: Bobbi Hinton

The Inks and Skins collaboration studies material aspects of medieval Gaelic manuscripts, fusing scientific analysis with codicology and linguistic study. These manuscripts contain a wealth of tales and poetry, historical, legal, and scientific writing from medieval Ireland. The manuscripts themselves, their creation, and their survival each have their own tales to tell.

A girl with long dark braids stands at a counter slicing strips of paper.

A Blast to the Past: Testing Decades Old Predictions

Posted by: Bobbi Hinton

Scientific research meets the allure of the past as Tineta Nkoronye, an intern at the PRTD at the LOC, delves into the world of preservation chemistry as she explores predictions made by William J. Barrow. Learn about the analytical methods used to carry out this experiment and discover whether Barrow's predictions were accurate or not.

A faded page of text with a dark dirty spot at left, with a bright color image of the same page at right.

Register Now: Inks & Skins

Posted by: Bobbi Hinton

Register to join us at the Library of Congress on September 13th from 10 am - 4 pm. Speakers will address the history of the Irish manuscripts, complementary research projects in which they are involved, and the results of the analytical techniques involved in the research. As Inks&Skins is a collaboration between heritage science and humanities, the importance of a visualization platform to share the results with humanities scholars will also be discussed.

Girl with dark hair and dark eyes smiles broadly, wearing a white t-shirt and black sweater with a small golden necklace.

Tracking Colors: Building a Pigment Reference Database

Posted by: Bobbi Hinton

My summer at the Library was spent capturing data from colored pigments in order to build a reference database. Using a high-tech portable FTIR instrument, I prepared samples and collected infrared readings from 50 pigments in the Library’s collection using three of the portable instrument’s attachments. I compiled 150 measurements in order to create the database’s foundation.