News and interesting finds from the museums, archives and libraries from all around the world. Conservation and preservation techniques, restoration projects, as well as display and exhibition ideas from the most respected institutions and organizations.
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.
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.
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.
New 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.
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.
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.
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!”
Conservator Theresa Smith talks about repairing Heinrich Vogtherr’s multilayered anatomical “flap” prints. The anatomical flap prints are on view as part of the exhibition “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe” at the Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum from September 6 through December 10, 2011.
In the meantime, right here in Springfield, MA, a new exciting exhibition is about to begin at the Springfield Museums. On loan from Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum, the Old Masters to Monet collection will open its doors to the public on December 13 and will run until April 29, 2012.