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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
029. (Book and Paper) An Enclosure for a 3-D Object in a Scrapbook

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For this poster I will focus on one aspect of a treatment I performed on a scrapbook. Scrapbooks are inevitably found in almost all archival collections. Due to their storage in archives and libraries scrapbooks routinely find themselves on a book conservator's bench. They are usually made from cheap materials and were produced at high speed and low cost. Then once bought they are usually overstuffed with items by their owners. These things all contribute to conservators interacting with scrapbooks. While they end up in the hands of a book conservator it is not uncommon to find some very unbook-like things within a scrapbook. These are usually three-dimensional objects. This led to me investigating how to best preserve these objects in scrapbooks without removing them from the page. As part of my summer internship at the University of Kansas I treated Emery McIntire's scrapbook. This scrapbook was in particularly poor condition and as part of the treatment it was decided to keep it disbound. It contains some amazing things. These included firecrackers, part of a football, part of a bleacher (I think), and most incredibly a 100-year-old piece of hardtack. Hardtack is a military food ration that was used for hundreds of years. It is comprised of flour and water and is baked repeatedly in order to remove all the moisture from it so it will not rot. This is why a piece can survive in a scrapbook for 100 years! In its final form it is an inedible brick. Usually to ingest it soldiers would dunk it in water or preferably coffee to make it more palatable. The main questions brought up by finding a piece of hardtack in the scrapbook were: How do we conserve hardtack? How do we conserve it while keeping it a part of the scrapbook? And how do we provide access to it without further damage coming to the hardtack? My goal in treating this page was to make the page accessible for both staff, to keep the hardtack on the page, and to do these things in as simple a way as possible. The enclosure developed to store this page is a five layer stack. The outer two layers are pieces of corrugated board with 6 ties attached to each. The next layers in are ethafoam corrugated board laminates that act as spaces for the hardtack on one side of the page and a dance book on the other. The inner layer is a double window mount in which the page is float mounted to display the page and to allow it to be handled without touching the page. This enclosure allows for the page to be moved and viewed while being supported and without worry of further damage occurring. This is a solution that is usable for any three-dimensional object found inside a scrapbook if the desire is to keep it on the page, and the page can be stored separately from the scrapbook.

avatar for Noah D. Smutz

Noah D. Smutz

Book Conservator, Smithsonian Libraries
Noah Smutz is a book conservator for the Smithsonian Libraries conserving items that come to the Book Conservation Lab through the Libraries’ Adopt-a-Book program. Since 2016, Noah holds a Master’s degree in Conservation Studies, focusing in book conservation, from West Dean College... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Book and Paper