Monthly Archives: March 2013

An “earie” object to have in the Lab…

Recently we received an unusual item from the University of Cincinnati’s Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions:  a prosthetic ear dating to the mid 1950’s accompanied by a small photograph and newspaper clipping depicting the patient modeling the false ear.  Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, the ear we received in the lab was a primary model used to construct the actual prosthetic, so it would not have been worn regularly by the patient.  I have to admit this is one of the more gruesome items I’ve come across in a conservation lab.  Not because it’s a prosthetic ear, but more so because improper housing and storage conditions led to deterioration which gave the ear a very bumpy almost wart-like surface appearance…and it looks so real…

The ear and its original housing materials.  The photograph and clipping were stored in the yellow envelope.

The ear and its original housing materials. The photograph and clipping were stored in the yellow envelope.

Continue reading

Surface cleaning — this is how we do it!

One of the ways we repair damaged materials here is surface cleaning.

This is an old catalog that I am cleaning up for future digitization. The pages are very acidic and brittle. The original will be available for patron viewing but because it is degraded so badly we will photograph each page and make it available digitally.  I have to be extra careful around tears and edges that I don’t break off any of the remaining paper. There has already been a lot of damage done to the catalog from previous handling.  I don’t want to cause any further damage or loss of information. Luckily, only part of the outside of the images where there is no text has been lost. Many of the pieces found and breaks in the pages can be mended with heat set tissue. So here I go!preser_blog

Continue reading