Emancipation Proclamation Turns 150!

Although 150 is a respectable age for any document, a paper of such significance as Emancipation Proclamation deserves a special celebration for this milestone.

The 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives kicks off on December 30, 2012 with a rare (this only happens a few days a year) public viewing of the original official sealed manuscript. It will continue through January 24, 2013 with film viewings, performances and presentations. You can see the entire schedule here.

Preservation of the Proclamation is not easy. Printed on a poor quality machine-made paper, it has already sustained considerable damage from light and frequent handling, which is why it is so rarely on display. It has been carefully treated and the weak paper support has been mended and reinforced using the latest conservation techniques. The folio, which is folded and tied with a ribbon, has paper with an alkaline reserve placed behind (for possible acid-migration), then it is sealed between two layers of clear inert Mylar. When not on display, the framed document is placed in a four-flap folder, which goes inside a custom box, so it’s completely light and element safe.

Charles Dickens’ Holiday Treasures

Tired of endless shopping, crowded malls and traffic jams? “Bah, humbug!” Get into the real holiday spirit with something traditional and even a bit old-fashioned. And nothing says “traditional Christmas” better than Charles Dickens and his wise tales.

If you are our fellow New Englander and can visit Boston, for something truly special, try doing The Freedom Trail Foundation’s Historic Holiday Stroll. Offered Thursday to Sunday from November 18 to January 31 (holidays excluded), costumed tour guides dressed in Victorian garb will help you revisit the days when Boston hosted the triumphant American premiere of Charles Dickens holiday classic A Christmas Carol. Hear the story of how Christmas and holiday traditions evolved in Boston and the highlights of the American Revolution as it happened just 75 years earlier.

If you don’t feel like leaving the house and braving the elements, you can still enjoy some of the Dickensian magic, but in a different way. Project Boz (“Boz” was Dickens’ early pen name) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute Gordon Library is helping modern readers experience the novels of Dickens in their original, serialized form. Famous for it’s rich collection of Charles Dickens materials, including rare first editions of almost all of his major works, manuscripts, and letters, the library is scanning and uploading for public access most of the novels in their original serial form, including original advertisements, and illustrations!

And if you are a world-traveler and just happen to be in London for the holidays, you simply MUST visit beautifully restored and just re-opened Charles Dickens Museum! For a “Very Dickensian Christmas” you can enjoy caroling and story telling, film screenings, walks and even festive food! It doesn’t get any better than that!

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Charles Dickens

Memory of the World

UNESCO’s biennial Jikji Memory of the World Prize, established in 2004 and designed to promote preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage around the world is named after Jikji, the oldest existing book made with movable metal print.
The Prize consists of a biennial award of US$ 30,000 to individuals or institutions that have made significant contributions to the preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage. The award itself and the operating costs of the Prize as well as all costs related to the award ceremony are funded by the Republic of Korea. The Prize is open to the governments of Member States and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) maintaining formal relations with UNESCO.

2011 winner was National Archives of Australia, which plan on spending the prize (and matching it’s monetary value) on training the next generation of conservators, more specifically, to fund a six-months internship for conservation student Carolyn Milne who had started work in the conservation laboratory.

Here’s a long list of current nominants for 2012 award.

Traveling Exhibition Memory of the World

Mummy, dear…

Photo from the "in the Artifact Lab" blog by The Penn Museum Conservators.
The Penn Museum, which boasts one of the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts in the US, is giving the general public a chance to get uncommonly close and almost personal with some of them. In an effort to introduce visitors to the behind-the-scenes work of conservators, Penn created a workspace, surrounded by glass walls, in which the preservation processes can be observed. Moreover, Artifact Lab offers visitors a chance to speak with a conservator twice a day (Tuesday-Friday 11:15am and 2:00pm, Saturday-Sunday 1:00pm and 3:30pm). Apparently, the most common question people ask: “Is that a real mummy?”
Museum patrons can watch staff members use microscopes, brushes and other tools while they study and preserve the precious artifacts. Large screens allow visitors to admire the same magnified views as the professionals behind the glass wall. And if for some reason you can’t make a trip to Philadelphia, you can still follow the Lab’s wonderful blog, which features interesting facts about the artifacts, preservation tips (both preventive and restorative), tools and equipment used during conservation treatments and much, much more…