Time to Celebrate Preservation Week!



Starting Sunday April 22, the American Library Association will kick off its third annual Preservation Week. The intention is to make connections between communities through events and activities that showcase what we can do to better preserve personal and shared collections. Preservation Week got its start in 2010 to bring awareness to the 630 million items in collecting institutions that require immediate care and attention. The American Library Association also points out that some 2.6 billion items are not protected by some form of an emergency plan. In 2011, more than 65 events were held nationwide during Preservation Week to bring awareness to this issue. This year, institutions across the country will be presenting webinars, workshops and lectures on how to better preserve your collections. In 2012, a diverse group of institutions will be participating in Preservation Week. You can find all of the scheduled Preservation Week events and locations on the official map.

Some of this year’s highlights include:

  • At New York University’s Michelson Theater, Activist Archivists have collaborated with the Occupy Wall Street movement to hold a presentation about the OWS Archives Working Group and the challenges they have already experienced and will face with regards to preserving and archiving materials directly related to the Occupy Wall Street movement. (Tuesday April 24, 6 PM).
  •  MIT Libraries will be presenting about caring for your family’s textiles. This session is available as a webinar. It will cover proper storage and display of your textiles, and when to call in professional conservators to handle a project. Earlier, we wrote about one such group of professionals, our friends at Museum Textiles Services. (Tuesday April 24, 2:00-3:00 PM)
  • The Library of Congress is hosting a pair of noontime events during Preservation Week. On Monday April 23, the Library of Congress will show a 35-minute, 1980’s photofilm, a movie made solely from still images, about library preservation events at the Library of Congress some three decades ago. On Wednesday April 25, conservation specialists from the Preservation Directorate will hold a seminar on the preservation of artifacts on paper. This workshop will focus on the basic conservation remedies that can be done at home.

University Products wants to help you get ready for your preservation week projects, so we are offering a sitewide 20% off sale through April 20, 2012. Use the coupon code PRESERVE12 at checkout, and the savings is yours!

Visiting the Smithsonian’s Lunder Conservation Center

The Lunder
The Lunder by sarahstierch, on Flickr

Many pieces within the the Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art have undergone conservation treatments throughout the years, but the ones that were treated by the Lunder Conservation Center, were done in front of the museum’s patrons. This state-of-the-art conservation lab and studio, housed in the museum’s fourth floor, gives visitors to the museum a unique perspective on the conservation treatment process. Patrons have the opportunity to see conservators at work in five different labs and studios behind floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Interactive kiosks and displays provide visitors with pertinent information about the process going on in front of them and the importance of museum conservation.

Conservation process on John Scott sculpture, Thornbush Blues Totem, photo courtesy of Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art

The Lunder conservators have been working on John Scott’s Thornbush Blues Totem, a sculpture constructed in 1990. In an effort to to prepare the piece for a new exhibition showcasing African-American art, the sculpture needed to have a layer of tape removed from its base. This layer of tape acts as padding for the bottom of the piece. The removal of the tape could result in paint being pulled along with it and sticky residues being left behind. However, the paint adorning the sculpture is highly sensitive to most solvents, including water. The conservation treatment of this sculpture is being documented as part of an on-going series for the museum’s blog, leading up to the April 27 opening of the African-American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond exhibit.

"Flowers" by William H. Johnson

The Lunder Conservation Center routinely informs visitors about what they’ll be doing inside their labs and studios via their Twitter feed. Through this medium, the conservators at Lunder also share photos of ongoing projects. Earlier this month, it was the cleaning treatment of William H. Johnson‘s iconic “Flowers” painting from 1939-40.

If you have art that requires a special conservation treatment,  University Products has a wide variety of conservation materials to help you complete your project.