Introducing: Kristen Hodge

Kristen Hodge, University ProductsUniversity Products is pleased to announce that Kristen Hodge has joined our staff as an Account Manager within the Archival Materials Market.  Kristen has worked with members of the museum and library community for more than five years and has an expansive knowledge of archival storage materials.  In her new position, Kristen will be visiting key accounts in an effort to understand individual institutional needs and requirements, and assisting in finding products to meet those needs.  Her responsibilities will also include sourcing and developing new products and attending various tradeshows to exhibit and promote University Products’ complete line of museum supplies.  Please join us in welcoming Kristen to the University Products family.  You can reach her in her office at 413-493-2342 or on her mobile phone at 315-247-7193, or email her at kehodge@universityproducts.com.

University Products is the leading supplier of archival storage materials for conservation, preservation, restoration and exhibition.  The company’s 400+ page full color catalog features the most comprehensive offering of archival storage supplies, conservation tools and equipment, and museum and gallery mount-making and display products.  University Products provides photographers with a full line of photographic storage and display products through its ApresFoto brand.  In addition, the company also manufactures the LINECO brand of framing and craft products

War and Art

Moscow’s Central Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art is named after Andrei Rublev, a great medieval painter of Orthodox icons and frescoes. Located in the buildings of Andronikov Monastery, where the master died sometime in late 1420s, museum is home to a vast collection of Russia’s most important religious art treasures. Peaceful and beautiful, the icons and paintings grace the walls of the monastery since the museum was opened after the WWII. in 1947. There’s also a large collection of hand-written and printed books.

When they packed a large exposition of XV-XVII century icons to travel to Kiev, Ukraine last year, the museum workers had no idea, how sudden and uneasy would be their return. But despite the tremulous events of the last few weeks, the entire collection was carefully packed and safely delivered back to Moscow, with great assistance from the workers of Ukraine’s National Sanctuary Complex “Sophia of Kiev” where the exhibit was supposed to be open through March. Once again, as art overcame war, there’s hope…

Hidden Treasures

Brooklyn College Time CapsuleIn 1955, “Before a sun-soaked crowd of 1,500 viewers,” the Brooklyn College president Dr. Harry Gideonse, who served from 1939 to 1966, and Brooklyn Borough President John Cashmore placed a watertight copper box into the cornerstone of what was to become the Walt Whitman Hall.

More than 50 years later, a construction crew, demolishing the Hall to make way for the new Center for Performing Arts, discovered the hidden treasure and brought it to light. Among other things, the box contained some Brooklyn College memorabilia, President Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration commemorative medal and some personal items of then college president Dr. Gideonse. All items were sent to the college library’s archive to be preserved and placed in protective enclosures before becoming available for public viewing. All the items appear to be in great shape and represent a great piece of the college’s history.

Time CapsuleThis Top 10 Incredible Time Capsules list on Listverse.com recounts some of the most grandiose and ambitious projects of this sort. But you don’t have to be part of a large Japanese corporation or Space Program to create a very special Time Capsule for your descendants. Although it is not strictly an “archival” preservation method, no truly valuable family heirlooms should be put in the capsule. Make sure both the capsule and your items are absolutely dry. Avoid staples, paper clips and rubber bands and separate the items as much as possible, reducing the risk of interaction of various materials. That said, some appropriate ephemera, photos, mementos and personal items will most certainly create a great educational and emotional “present” for future generations!

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.

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

Pushing the Envelope at the NEMA Meeting

John Dunphy & Pat Foster, NEMA, 2012The New England Museum Association (NEMA) annual meeting was held in Burlington, VT. November 7, 8 & 9 and University Products was there to debut its new Archival Quality Materials catalog. In the booth was Pat Foster, Vice President of Marketing and John Dunphy, Vice President & General Manager. They displayed a variety of new products that have been added to the product line and illustrated in the 2013 catalog. Attendees got practical ideas and useful tips from top museum experts as they explored this year’s theme, “Pushing the Envelope: Innovation and the Future of Museums.” The conference was an opportunity for museum professionals to meet key colleagues, expand their professional network, and share their opinions in lively discussions with museums big and small. UPI booth at NEMA, 2012Also exhibiting were our New England neighbors which include the Northeast Document Conservation Center out of Andover, MA, Collector Services from Easthampton, MA and Small Corp from Greenfield, MA among others. It was nice to see representatives from our local museum, the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke in attendance as well as our friends from Smith College in Northampton.

NEMA Scholarship
John Dunphy & Rachel Lovett, NEMA, 2012Rachel Lovett, Curator at the Hanover (MA), Historical Society was the recipient of the University Products’ annual sponsorship of the New England Museum Association (NEMA) scholarship. The scholarship helps to offset the cost of attending the annual conference. In addition to her work at the Hanover Historical Society, Rachel attends the Harvard Museum studies program. Her attendance at the conference, this year held in Burlington, VT, allowed Rachel to seek out new ideas and current trends in the field. “I believe that attending NEMA will help enhance my museum skill set at work as well as in school,” Rachel said.

American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month is celebrated in November to recognize Native cultures and to educate the public about the heritage, history, art, and traditions of the American Indian and Alaska Native people.

Native American Heritage Month Website, which is a collaboration of 8 major museums and institutions has a comprehensive list of various events, exhibits, demonstrations, and online resources available for a better understanding of the rich history and amazing traditions of the indigenous peoples of America.

• National Park Services has Tribal Preservation Programs & Grants designed to help repair some of the damage done in the last 500 years to the tribes and aid in restoring language, tradition, religion, objects, and sites.

• National Archives website has an entire section dedicated to the Native American Records, in which you can research records for a specific person (arranged by tribe), as well as other available online resources, hundreds of scanned rare photos and historical records pertaining to Native Americans.

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has a state-of-the-art museum conservation facility, which includes separate laboratories for working on textiles and objects, a technical library, a photography studio, a scientific analytical lab, and mount-making spaces. The conservators participate in outreach, training and research projects conducted by the NMAI, collaborate with other institutions on special programs and, of course, take an important part in restoring, preserving and preparing artifacts for being displayed in the museum. The recently opened five-year exhibition called Circle of Dance presents Native dance as a vibrant, meaningful, and diverse form of cultural expression. The museum uses costume displays and a large-screen video to illuminate 10 Native American dances. Both Washington, DC and New York locations of NMAI are ready to celebrate the Heritage Month with a calendar full of events.

Celebrating American Archives Month All Across America

October is designated throughout the United States as American Archives month. The month was founded in 1969 by the Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, but now Archives Month is a collaborative effort by professional organizations and repositories. Society of American Archivists (SAA) takes active part in promoting and developing the month-long celebration, raising much needed public awareness and providing professionals with new ways to attract attention to the priceless treasures they preserve and valuable services they provide. Instruction on how to preserve family photographs and documents are also usually provided in each state. The majority of the states get involved and plan out different sorts of activities that pertain to archiving. You can follow the ongoing events by searching for hash tag #ArchivesMonth on Twitter and also by visiting SAA on Facebook.

Throughout Archives Month, museums, libraries, and other archival institutions all across the country are celebrating by defining their respective histories and the ways that make them unique to one another. Each participating state designed a poster that reflects the chosen theme while showcasing some of the finest archival ephemera and photo treasures normally hidden in boxes and folders.

Some states picked very unusual and original topics for 2012 Archives Month. For example, Washington is presenting it’s illustrious history of crooks, cops, and courts. University of Texas at Austin Archives were inspired by fashion and clothing, while The Oregon State Historical Records Advisory Board concentrated on a more serious issue by commemorating the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in Oregon. From maps to music and home videos… Hey, even Rock&Roll Hall of Fame got in on some archival action 🙂

You can see the more comprehensive list of activities and themes on SAA’s site designated to Archives Month. or on the Council of State Archivists Archives Month Directory site, which sorted them by state.

Latest Shows and New Products

Just returned from the American Association of Museums annual meeting where University Products exhibited at Museum Expo. I enjoyed meeting old and new friends and discussing some of the many new products we will be launching in the coming months.

University Products' John Dunphy with Mark Hall-Patton of the Pawn Stars fame.

Among the many fun moments was Mark Hall-Patton stopping at the booth. Mark works for the Clark County Museum System in Las Vegas, NV and is an expert in historical artifacts. However, he may be better known for his frequent appearances on one of the History Channel’s most popular shows: Pawn Stars.
Pawn Stars takes you inside the colorful world of the pawn business. At the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on the outskirts of Las Vegas, three generations of the Harrison family–grandfather Richard, son Rick and grandson Corey – jointly run the family business, and there’s clashing and camaraderie every step of the way. The three men use their sharp eyes and skills to assess the value of items from the commonplace to the truly historic, including a 16th-century samurai sword, a Super Bowl ring, a Picasso painting and a 17th-century stay of execution. It’s up to them to determine what’s real and what’s fake, as they reveal the often surprising answer to the questions on everyone’s mind, “What’s the story behind it? ” and “What’s it worth?”
Mark chatted with me about his participation in the show. He explained that neither he nor any of the experts are paid, but that the popularity of the show has greatly increased attendance at the Clark County Museum System, and the pawn shop had been very generous with the museums’ fund raising efforts. Mark is a customer of University Products and was kind enough to pose for a picture…

John with Carlos Mijares from Editorial Marco Polo, Mexico.
John with Carlos Mijares from Editorial Marco Polo, Mexico.

The American Institute for Conservation also held its annual meeting in May. University Products had a 20’ booth at the Albuquerque, NM convention center. I was joined in the booth by Carlos Mijares from Editorial Marco Polo, the major supplier of archival and conservation materials in Mexico and one of our favorite distributors of our products there. University Products also offers many of Editorial Marco Polo’s products here in the U.S. Among them are a variety of new suction tables which were on display at the booth, along with several new conservation weights.
In addition, we showed some of our new generation of products which include Fosshape and Wonderflex. These two new materials are used in mount making and creating light weight mannequin forms. You will be hearing more about these materials and many others as we move forward.
As I mentioned in our last blog, we will be participating in the Society of Southwest Archivists annual meeting being held in Phoenix, and the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries & Museums being held in Tulsa. We will also be a platinum sponsor of the SPNHC (Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections) annual meeting at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Regrettably, because of some health issues, I will not be able to attend these meetings as planned. We will, however, have products and catalogs on display and generous people in these organizations will set up and maintain our booth space. I hope to be back on my feet by early July in time to participate in the NAGARA (National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators) show in Santa Fe, and the Society of American Archivists meeting in San Diego in August.

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!