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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
072. (Collection Care) Best Practices, Creative Problem Solving and Balancing Compromises in Conservation Treatments

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This poster will outline the challenges of conservation treatment for material used in an active Special Collections Library highlighting specific examples of successful outcomes to challenging projects. One of the major focuses of the Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College Library is to encourage active use of its collections, especially by faculty bringing classes into the library. Last year over 400 classes came to the library to study primary sources. In addition to class use, the library is open to the entire community and outside researchers. With this high use and open door policy the collections are accessed more than a typical restrictive graduate library might. Therefore, in order to find a sensible treatment, we must strike a balance with the ethics of conservation, the best treatment for the object itself, and the reality that it may be used by a patron who might not be aware of how to handle rare or fragile materials. This can render our job as conservators to be quite challenging at times. In creating a treatment proposal for these objects, and thinking about overall collection care, Conservation staff engage in a dialogue with the Special Collections staff to arrive at a consensus of the best treatment plan and answer the important question that steers the boat of Conservation: "How is this object being used?” An example of an object that we have found a satisfactory solution for is our first edition of The Book of Mormon. Founder Joseph Smith was born locally and many Latter Day Saints come to visit the area, and are drawn to view and behold a first edition copy of this important book. Because this object is frequently requested and handled by all kinds of patrons (it actually never returns to the stacks due to how regularly it is viewed), it has been placed in a box with a built-in cradle to provide a restricted opening and to signal to the patron the care and attention this item deserves. Other objects in the collection with more or less successful treatments have been a collection of large Edward Curtis photograph books with crumpled interleaving due to frequent usage. We decided to put new interleaving for the purpose of protecting the photos and remaining aesthetically true to the original format. A less successful example would be a foldout color plate from the anatomy book Suite de l'Essai d'anatomie en tableaux imprimés illustrated by Gautier d'Agoty that was fitted with linen and paper tabs make the page removable, but has proven to be a challenge for students to manage.

avatar for Elizabeth Alford Curran

Elizabeth Alford Curran

Assistant Conservator, Dartmouth College Library
Lizzie is resides in Vermont and is the Assistant Conservator at Dartmouth College Library in Hanover, New Hampshire, treating both Special Collections and circulating materials. Prior to her position at Dartmouth, Lizzie was a Conservation Technician at the Huntington Library in... Read More →

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