Museum Textile Services Conserves and Mounts A Star-Spangled Banner

With this past December’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, our friends at Museum Textile Services in Andover, Mass., took on the task of conserving an American flag from the US Coast Guard ship the USS Centaurus earlier in 2011. The USS Centaurus served as an attack cargo ship in WWII’s Pacific Theater including the Battle of Guadalcanal (in the Solomon Islands) in June 1944. The ship’s career also included being involved in the Battle of Okinawa and servicing Pearl Harbor.

American Flag from US Coast Guard ship USS Centaurus
The USS Centaurus flag prior to conservation, Courtesy of Coast Guard Historic Collection

Museum Textile Services’ conservation process required multiple steps and extreme care. With an additional flag that also served at Guadalcanal, the flag from the Centaurus was removed from its old backing fabric and vacuumed and humidified to remove particulates, folds, and wrinkles. Also, upon arrival to MTS, the Guadalcanal flag had such severe fraying that servicemen tied knots in the strands on the fly end. Not every knot was able to be untied prior to mounting.

Both the Centaurus and Guadalcanal flags were pressure mounted in an effort to cut down on the amount of required stitching. MTS used our quarter-inch archival Polyfelt to make a soft surface for the flags. This padding was placed on a solid support panel made by our friends Small Corp, Inc., in nearby Greenfield, Mass. MTS also used a UV-filtering acrylic box to complete the project.

If you require specialized archival materials for your textile conservation project, see University Products’ selection of textile conservation products.

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!

 

Smithsonian Restores the Jefferson Bible

Thomas Jefferson was notorious for staying very busy in his years after leaving the White House. In 1820, our nation’s third president set out to assemble a “personal bible” consisting of passages from the first four books of the New Testament. The result was an 84-page compilation, cut-and-pasted from four bibles, of the teachings that resonated most with Jefferson. The Jefferson Bible, as it’s referred to by historians, was never mass-published, because Jefferson feared that these religious beliefs would be used against him by his political rivals and could have potentially offended religious officials. The book remained in the possession of Jefferson’s family until 1895, when it was purchased by the Smithsonian’s librarian and curator of world religions, Cyrus Adler.

Earlier this year, the Smithsonian took on the task of restoring the book. The project involved deconstructing, and then reconstructing this incredibly rare text. Everything from re-binding to page reconstruction went into this restoration project. Throughout the arduous repair process, the Smithsonian has kept the public up-to-date through blog posts, and later, a very comprehensive and interactive website devoted to the subject.

Many of the same types of materials that the Smithsonian’s staff used during this process can be purchased from University Products. For instance, many of the stubs and pages of the Jefferson Bible had to be repaired using a micro-spatula. Also, the Japanese paper Kozo, which has excellent aging properties, was used in repairing and protecting the leather cover on the book. If your project includes the repair of a rare book, look for University Products’ collection of book arts and conservation materials.

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs on display at Currier Museum of Art

Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography at Currier Art MuseumAre you ready to see some photos that…rock?

If you fancy yourself a rock and roll aficionado and are making your way to Manchester, N.H., don’t miss Backstage Pass, an exhibit that started earlier this year at Manchester, N.H.’s Currier Museum, showcasing some of the most iconic photographs in rock and roll history.

The artists captured in these famous photographs include Rock and Roll luminaries Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and The Sex Pistols. Legendary rock photographer, Bob Gruen, snapped a portion of these famous photos in the exhibit.

Arguably, Gruen’s most iconic photograph is one of John Lennon in a sleeveless New York City T-shirt standing arms folded with the Manhattan skyline as his backdrop. The photo, taken while the ex-Beatle was recording “Walls and Bridges” in the summer of 1974, became a famous one some six years later in the wake of Lennon’s death according to Gruen in a New York Times piece that appeared earlier this year.Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography at Currier Museum of Art

Gruen had selected the photo amongst his Lennon collection to be displayed at Central Park’s band shell for the public memorial for Lennon in 1980. Gruen’s work is just a small sampling of the photographs on display at the Currier from more than 50 photographers.

Are you looking to archive (or even exhibit) your own photo collection? University Products has the professional archival products you need to preserve, protect and present your photographs. From framing essentials to photo storage supplies, our products can turn your photos “up to 11!”

Happy Birthday Mark Twain

Archives and Rare books, Mark Twain first editions, first printing, University of Cincinnati
Mark Twain first editions, first printing, Archives and Rare books, University of Cincinnati

Today, on the 176th birthday of one of the America’s most famous and mysterious authors of all time, we would like to talk to you about book preservation. Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, left numerous letters, writings, photographs and artifacts that are lovingly preserved in several collections around the country. We are fortunate enough to be located half an hour from Mark Twain’s amazing Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT.

Some of Mark Twain’s collections are being carefully and meticulously digitized. The Mark Twain Project and others, like his Childhood House and Museum Collection in Hannibal, Missouri, are dedicated to preserving priceless objects that used to belong to Twain and his family.

First Editions of Twain’s world-famous The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are extremely valuable and some are even signed. Storage and conservation of rare books needs to be done with extreme care. Antique tomes’ spines can become damaged from exposure to the elements, improper storage practices as well as regular wear-and-tear. Using Adjustable Rare Book Boxes will ease the pressure on the spine and the book can be well preserved while stored either horizontally or vertically. Ripped off spines can be reattached using Spine Repair Tape.
Pressure Sensitive Mending Tissue is perfect for repairing torn or brittle pages.

We have collected some wonderful resources to help you identify, care for and preserve the literary treasures you may possess. Please feel free to download these PDF files on Care And Security Of Rare Books, How To Care For Bound Archival Materials, and What Makes A Book Rare? and read a comprehensive article on Display and Storage of Books. University Products offers numerous products, tools and literature for Rare Book Conservation.

Silent film of Mark Twain at “Stormfield”, Redding, CT 1909 (by Thomas Edison), courtesy of Online Archives and University of Cincinnati:

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

New Equipment Acquisitions Lead to Expanded Custom Capabilities

University Products Archival Solutions Blog custom boxesUniversity Products has added several pieces of new equipment to its New England manufacturing facility. The new equipment expands the company’s ability to provide custom enclosures and increases the options available to its customers.

Zund G3
University Products Archival Solutions Blog zund g3 custom archival box cuttingThe recently installed Zund G3 Digital Cutter allows the company to produce prototypes and small runs of custom size (and shape) boxes, folders, envelopes, etc. without the need of costly dies. This computer controlled machine automates all cutting and trimming functions and works on all archival paper and boards including Perma/Dur e-flute and b-flute corrugated board (see our video below).


Boxboard Laminator

University Products also added a boxboard laminator. This new equipment provides the company with the ability to laminate paper, cloth and other materials to its archival quality boards, creating unique and decorative exteriors for custom boxes.

Metal Stay Box Machine
University Products has also replaced its metal stay box machine with new faster and more efficient equipment. They have increased productivity and expanded the colors and sizes of metal stays available, adding to the options available for custom boxes.

No longer do museums, libraries and archives need to sacrifice form for function. With University Products expanded manufacturing capabilities, the customer can get the quality acid-free enclosures the company has always provided, in the exact sizes and look they want.