Celebrate American Archival Month!

American Archives MonthSince 2006, October has brought a unique opportunity to display the importance of the work that archivists do. This month is American Archival Month!

Pioneered by the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) and the Society of American Archivists, the celebration involves various themes, exhibits, and events in archives, libraries, museums, corporations, historical societies, and organizations around the country.

South Carolina ArchivesThis year, South Carolina’s Archival Association also celebrates its fifteenth birthday, with the theme of the natural environment. Archivists and libraries across the state are hosting exhibits, lectures, open houses, and tours to highlight the landscape, conservation, flora, fauna, agriculture, natural resources, and outdoor recreation of South Carolina. Events include a display of the 1989 Hurricane Hugo at Hollings Library, a viewing of Maria Martin’s butterfly and insect sketch book at Charleston Museum, and a talk by National Geographic photographer Vincent J. Musi at Charleston Library.

Another large celebration is occurring at the 9th-Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, hosted by L.A. as Subject. This day features talks by archival experts from the Autry National Center of the American West and the Los Angeles Public Library. The bazaar will also feature an archives roadshow, a discussion on the monsters that lurk Southern California, and a screening of the documentary Monomaniacs.

Archives Month PhillyAnother archival hub – Philadelphia is featuring a series called Archives Month Philly including tours, workshops, screenings, exhibits, and lectures throughout Philadelphia’s various institutions. Specific events include a personal digital archiving day at Bryn Mawr College Libraries, a special tour of the John Bowman Special Collections Library at Batram’s Garden, a historic tour of the Curtis Institute of Music buildings and archives, and much more.

Despite the many events and celebrations across the country, archival month is more than viewing collections and hearing speeches. It is expanding our knowledge of people, stories, and experiences through records of another time.  It is truly appreciating the work of this country’s archivists. For a comprehensive list of events by state, click here or search for hashtag #archivesmonth on Twitter!

Preserving the Old Glory

Archival Quality Flag Box from University ProductsMemorial Day was established for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces and naturally, the American Flag takes center stage in this somber celebration. There are very particular rules and procedures, called collectively The Flag Code for everything from carrying and hanging to folding and disposal of Old Glory (which are actually part of U.S. legal code). Although “flag etiquette” is not particularly enforced, taking good care of your cherished symbol will exponentially increase it’s life span, whether it’s brand new or an old family heirloom!

Conservation – As with any textile, make sure to conduct all necessary cleaning and repair before attempting to store or display the flag. Checking for possible insect infestation/ damage is always a good idea with textiles, especially if previous storage conditions were not ideal. Once it is deemed clean of unwanted visitors, conservators start by carefully removing dust, dirt and other environmental debris, treating stains with appropriate cleaning products and, if required, mending rips and/or signs of wear and tear. Old Flag conservation, repair and mounting at the Museum Textile ServicesWe always recommend contacting a professional conservator if you are dealing with an especially fragile item of high monetary or sentimental value. Our friends at Museum Textile Services specialize in treating all sorts of fabric treasures, including flags. Click on the image to read just one of their flag-restoration stories.

Cleaning – Minimize washing or cleaning of older flags. You should not wash or dry clean them except with the advice of a professional conservator. However, vacuuming gently (on low suction) using a brush attachment covered by a clean piece of cheesecloth is usually a safe and effective cleaning method. New flags, depending on the type of material, can usually be washed by hand using a mild soap.clear view flag storage box

Special Storage – triangular-shaped archival quality boxes are designed specifically for storing properly folded flags. Acid-Free Tissue or Polyester Batting may be used for stuffing and support, if needed. University Products offers 2 kinds of ready-to-assemble flag boxes: the Archival Quality Flag Box in Blue/Gray Corrugated Board and the Clear-View Flag Box in 20pt. inert Polyester.

March Workshop Madness

This month brings a bounty of online and live educational offerings from the major archival organizations here in the US. Check them out and hurry to register for ones that might be of interest. Some of them are even free…

Society of American Archivists is offering a wide variety of live classes this month, including Digital Forensics for Archivists at the New England Archivists Spring 2013 Meeting in Worcester, MA on March 22. (see full list here) as well as numerous on-demand online courses (available any time).

Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) will have two Collections Care Webinars: Writing your NEH Preservation Assistance Grant, March 14, 2-4 PM ET and Care and Handling of Multimedia Materials March 26, 2-4 PM ET

New England Archivists’ Spring Conference will take place in Worcester, MA March 21-23. You can see full schedule of the events here.

American Library Association (ALA) has prepared a 4-week online course Fundamentals of Preservation that introduces participants to the principles, policies and practices of preservation in libraries and archives. See full course schedule and other info here. First session is scheduled to start on March 25.

Regional Alliance for Preservation  has several workshops planned for March. Some will take place on location and some online. First up is a seminar on Housing Solutions designed to give practical, hands-on knowledge of preservation materials and constructing housing for collections), presented by Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts.  It will take place on March 13, 2013 9:30AM – 3:30PM in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. See full list of classes here.

Recommended Reading

We’d like to share some wonderful online resources for reading about conservation, museums, archives and much more. Enjoy!

E-Conservation Magazine  – English-language e-Publication out of Portugal. Covers all sorts of conservation topics, from brush selection for painting restoration to chemical analysis of paper. Very professional, thorough articles.

Archive Journal – Relatively new online publication, featuring contributing staff from numerous colleges and universities around the US which focuses on the use and theory of archives and special collections in higher education.

Inside The Conservator’s Art – This blog, a behind-the-scenes look at conserving Egyptian artifacts at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, is actually in a dormant state right now, because the exhibit is over and the conservator blogger moved on to another task in the museum. But it remains available, and the topics, photographs and descriptions are absolutely stunning. Great read!

The British Museum Blog offers a lot of interesting info about the current events at the museum, but also at peek at the normally hidden archeology finds, conservation processes and preservation efforts.

The Bonefolder 2004-2012 archive of the online book arts publication, which, sadly is “no more”. But the back issues are full of interesting and educational articles, gorgeous photos of all kinds of items related to book-making, book-repair and book arts in general.

Protecting Textiles with Photo-Tex Tissue

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has recently augmented their collection of antique gloves and wristlets as part of their Fashion Arts and Textiles collection. Many of the pieces in this collection are being stored and preserved with Photo-Tex tissue. Wristlet pieces in the collection that did not require padded supports, were stored and stacked in pairs with an interleaving of Photo-Tex. Additionally, a pair of lace gloves in this collection were stored with Photo-Tex for support and as a catch-all for any loose parts or pieces from the pair.

Archival Storage Tissue unbuffered, high-purity, 100% cotton all rag sheetNew for 2012, is the addition of Photo-Tex tissue to our inventory. This unbuffered, high-purity, 100% cotton all rag sheet meets the highest standards for the storage of photographs, textiles and works of art on paper, as well as silver and artifacts.

In addition to Photo-Tex, the Museum of Fine Arts used the following types of products to build the custom storage solutions for their antique gloves and wristlets: custom trays, 4 ply matboard, Volara, Tyvek, polyester batting, muslin, twill tape, polyethylene foam blocks, and Corrosion Intercept Film Rolls.

Protect your archival collection with the finest preservation materials from University Products!

 

Conservation Video from Harvard & New Exhibition at Springfield Museums

Conservation Focus: Anatomical Flap Prints from Harvard Art Museums on Vimeo.

Conservator Theresa Smith talks about repairing Heinrich Vogtherr’s multilayered anatomical “flap” prints. The anatomical flap prints are on view as part of the exhibition “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe” at the Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum from September 6 through December 10, 2011.

More information on the exhibition and related programming at harvardartmuseums.org

old masters to monet springfield muesum exhibitIn the meantime, right here in Springfield, MA, a new exciting exhibition is about to begin at the Springfield Museums. On loan from Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum, the Old Masters to Monet collection will open its doors to the public on December 13 and will run until April 29, 2012.

And for all of your conservation framing needs, refer to the Archival Quality Materials Gallery Edition Catalog or visit the Framing section at universityproducts.com

Movie Poster Collecting

movie poster collectingAccording to the all-knowing Wikipedia, today, on November 28th in 1907, Louis B. Mayer (later on – the second “M” in the MGM motion picture studio conglomerate), opened his first movie theater in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

The movie business changed a lot since then, including the movie posters. In the times long before Facebook “like” buttons and endless TV commercials, posters were designed to intrigue vintage movie poster collecting and archival storagepotential customers and entice them to come and watch the new cinematic offering. Of course, they varied in quality and style, ranging from one-of-a-kind hand-pained masterpieces to kitschy colorful printed productions.  Movie poster collecting can be fun and rewarding, even if you don’t have any sentimental vintage movie poster collecting and archival storageattachment to the movies they represent. Vintage movie posters can benefit from being stored flat and protected by archivally safe enclosures and/or archival quality boxes. They can become fragile and brittle over time and some might require repair, using pressure sensitive Document Repair Tape, which is removable and gentle on paper.

You can learn more about movie posters and collecting them, as well as view some outstanding collections of vintage motion picture posters, lobby cards and rare photos online:
Movie Poster Collection at Library of Congress
Movie Posters and Prints at Collectors Weekly
WalterFilm Online Vintage Poster/Photo Museum