We Are Crazy About These Collections!

Stirling District Asylum’s 50 volumes of meticulous medical records, detailing the care and treatment of mental health patients in Central Scotland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were transferred for treatment and preservation to the University of Stirling Archives. They are undergoing thorough cleaning, and after being cataloged will provide wealth of historical, social and medical information for genealogical and historical researchers at the archive.

1446 items removed from patients' stomachs. Photo from the Glore Psychiatric Museum.

Glore Psychiatric Museum, part of St. Joseph, Missouri Museum Group, boasts probably the largest collection showing the evolution of mental health care in the United States. Appropriately located in one of the buildings of ‘State Lunatic Asylum No. 2’ which opened in November of 1874 with 25 patients, the museum hosts multiple full-sized replicas, interactive displays, audio-visuals, artifacts, and documents to illustrate the history of the treatment of mental illness.

Last but not least, Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia is celebrating it’s 150th anniversary and is working on restoring it’s Hyrtl Skull Collection, consisting of 139 fine specimens, all of which are now up for “adoption”. During the SOS (Save Our Sculls) Campaign, the $200 price of your contribution would assist with initial cost of cleaning, repair, and remounting of your chosen artifact and your (or somebody else’s) name will be permanently included on the the skull mount!

For the Love of Valentines

Antique Valentines CardsLast year, we wrote about history of Valentines, but this time, we’d like to simply admire some very special holiday cards we found on the web…

In this lovely video, conservators from The Currier Museum of Art, an internationally renowned art museum located in Manchester, New Hampshire, are demonstrating some very delicate fanciful cards from the late 19th century donated to the museum by the family of John W. Sanborn:

And in this photoset, courtesy of Chip Oglesby/chipoglesby.com you can see a more personal side of Valentines, complete with his mother’s comments on the actual history of each card, who they were given to and from sometime between 1930s and 1950s. You can read more about these cards in his original blog post here.
greeting card archival storage boxCards appear to be in great shape (a few creases and rips non withstanding) with bright colors and intricate details intact. We highly recommend storing cards in Acid and Lignin Free Boxes so they would last for a very long time and will be able to “tell” their stories for generations to come. Happy Valentines Day!

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.