Preservation of Taj Mahal model

University Archives student assistant cleans stone replica from collection. Photo by University Archives / UNCWUniversity Archives student assistant cleans item from collection. Photo by University Archives / UNCW.

April 27-May 3, 2014 was American Library Association Preservation Week and May is Preservation Month with loads of great information from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

What are we doing in University Archives to raise preservation awareness? On this blog throughout May, we will share best practices to extend the life of our rare and unique collections in the University Archives, Randall Library, University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Preservation--also known as “preventive conservation”--emphasizes noninterventive actions to prevent damage to and minimize deterioration of a museum object or archival collection.

For example:

  • Monitoring and recording environmental conditions where collections are housed (e.g., light, relative humidity, temperature, and air pollution)
  • Inspecting and recording the condition of objects
  • Practicing proper handling, storage, exhibit, housekeeping, and packing and shipping techniques

Taj Mahal model in University Archives. These replicas are made in various sizes.  The one in Archives has a base of 9 in. by 9 in.

Taj Mahal model in University Archives. These models are made in various sizes.  This one in Archives has a base of 9 in. by 9 in.

In University Archives, we rely on our excellent student assistants to take on essential preservation and collection care responsibilities.

Allison Thompson, Archives student assistant, wore cotton gloves while carefully cleaning the soapstone  model. First she dry-brushed the item with a fine brush from a collection care kit and then cleaned it with plain water using a similar brush.

For storage, she fabricated custom archival boxes and lids from ArtCareTM 100 percent cotton mat board. Boxes made of this material help create a safe “microchamber” for archival and museum objects.

 

Protective boxes in University Archives for storage of objects.

 

This Taj Mahal mini-replica was a gift to former James Leutze upon his retirement in 2003. He donated it to University Archives at that time. Chancellor Leutze, a historian, was host of the UNC Television series Globewatch and an often-sought speaker on international issues.

Chancellor James Leutze (2007). Photo by UNCW University Relations.
Chancellor James R. Leutze (2007). Photo by UNCW University Relations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Knapp, A. M. (1993, July). Preservation of museum collections. Conserv O Gram, 1(1), 1-2. Retrieved from http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/01-01.pdf.   

 

Award brings conservator to UNCW to survey unique library collections

On the ladder, in the stacks of the Gillen Collection

Randall Library won a grant award from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) allowing Special Collections and University Archives to bring a preservation specialist to UNCW to assess these unique collections. The Preservation Assistance Grant (PAG) for Smaller Institutions paid for Matthew S. ("Matt") Johnson of Etherington Conservation Services (ECS) to spend March 17-21 in Special Collections and University Archives for the survey. Next Mr. Johnson will produce a written report of his findings and recommendations for improving collection care.

Mr. Johnson, Senior Rare Book Conservator at ECS in Browns Summit, NC, has been with the company since 1993. He is a 1991 graduate of UNC-Greensboro, where he earned a BFA degree in Design and Printmaking. He trained directly under renowned conservator Don Etherington. Mr. Johnson's responsibilities include staff training, project management, and advanced conservation.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) logo

 

 

The NEH PAG for Smaller Institutions helps small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. These may include special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, or architectural plans and maps. UNCW was awarded $6,000 in January 2014 to fund the preservation assessment.
 

Assessing map case CONTENTS in UNIVERSITY Archives (click on thumbnail)

Matt Johnson assesses map case contents in University Archives.

 

 
 
TAKING LIGHT METER READINGS (click on thumbnail)

Matt Johnson takes light meter readings in Special Collections.

 
 
 
 
Adina Riggins, Rebecca Baugnon, Jerry Parnell FROM UNCW AnD Matt Johnson, NEH Preservation Assistance Grant CONTRACTOR (CLICK on ThumbNail)

University Archives and Special Collection staff pose with NEH PAG contractor..

 

 

 

 

INSPECTING BOOKS (click on thumbnail)

 

 

 

 

SHINING A LIGHT ON PRESERVATION  (click on thumbnail)

Shining a Light on Preservation