As an emerging conservator, sometimes it’s difficult to quickly describe the daily work I perform. When many people hear the word conservation, they immediately think of protecting wildlife.
The Preservation Lab offers a suite of services to our parent institutions, including conservation, storage and handling, pest management, and environmental monitoring. Recently we got to flex both our physical and mental muscles, assisting the Public Library with a special collections move. While there were many interesting objects that required special attention during the relocation, a collection of locally and historically significant oversized posters presented a fun and exciting challenge.
Several times a semester UCL’s Reference and Instructional Services department hosts 1st Fridays @4, a fun activity (with food!) that engages and educates students/patrons. When Pam Bach, the lead coordinator of 1st Fridays, asked the Preservation Lab if we would be interested instructing a simple, fun bookbinding workshop we jumped on the opportunity. Being in the basement of the library can be a bit isolating, so any chance we get to interact with the students and patrons is very appealing to us. We decided to show the participants how to make an adhesive-bound miniature book with a paper case. We chose this because it would be easy for people new to bookbinding to construct, we had all the supplies we needed to prep for the workshop, and we already had a little experience prepping and teaching the structure since we made these cute little books during our student and volunteer fun day in November.
First of all, you might be wondering. Why do conservation labs conduct photography?
A picture is worth a thousand words:
Photographs are the most descriptive way for conservators to accurately document physical changes made to an object during treatment.
In conservation, producing photographic documentation is a conservation professional’s ethical obligation. In conjunction with written documentation, the photographs help to more accurately and efficiently document the examination, scientific investigation, and treatment of special collection materials.
Afterwards, the photography becomes an important part of the treatment record for a rare object and it is permanently archived with the treatment report. This information is saved with the object in hopes of aiding future scholars and conservators in understanding an object’s aesthetic, conceptual, or physical historical characteristics. For more information on conservation treatment documentation, visit the Preservation Lab’s digital collection located here: http://digital.libraries.uc.edu/collections/preservation/.
Moving from sunny California to the “most northern southern city, and the most eastern Midwest city,” A.K.A. Cincinnati, I’ve found that I love living in a climate with the change of seasons. In particular, one of my favorite sightings on the University of Cincinnati campus made me feel as though I was living in an page of an Andy Goldsworthy book! Just before this yellow ginkgo tree began to lose its leaves, the ground received a light autumn dusting of snow that whimsically highlighted the presence of the tree’s newly fallen leaves.
There’s a new face in the Lab these days. Ashleigh Schieszer (pronounced She-zer), our new Conservator and Lab Manager, arrived last week. She hit the ground running just a few days after moving to Cincinnati from Los Angeles, California where she was completing her internship at the Huntington Library. Somehow, though, in the midst of the orientation sessions, getting to know her way around the Lab and meetings with managers and colleagues she found time to sit down for an interview with me.