Happy Preservation Week!

From April 26th-May 2nd, the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services is celebrating Preservation Week. This initiative includes events from all over the country, which includes free webinars, a Twitter conference, and more. At FSU, we’d like to celebrate Preservation Week by showing off some of the preservation rehousing work we’ve done in the past year.

Why do we rehouse collections?

  • Provides physical protection and stability for the item
  • Delays chemical breakdown
  • Improves collections management
  • Increases access to the item

What do we consider when making custom housing?

  • Will this improve the item’s physical and chemical stability?
  • Is it easy to remove the item from the housing?
  • Is it easy to transport between storage and service spaces?
  • Does it fit in our existing storage?
  • Does it allow for moving parts to be demonstrated safely?
  • Does it increase access? Can we use the item in an instruction session with minimal concern?

Our first rehousing example is individual binders for our Papyrus Fragments (MSS 2015-008). Prior to creating the binders, the fragments were housed between acrylic pieces, and had slid to the bottom of the frame. Moving the fragments into the new binders allowed for each piece to be stored individually, as well as increase their visibility as you can now view the fragment from both sides.

This almanac, Rider’s British Merlin (AY751 .R5 1770), is beautifully adorned with gold tooled leather and clasps that are held together by a long metal pin. Because removing and replacing the pin every time it’s used can cause wear on the book, we designed a box that would mimic the sensation of removing the stylus from the clasps.

This sculpture from an unprocessed series of the Francois Bucher Papers (MSS 2015-010) posed several problems. The ceramic bust has extremely delicate and fragile features, and is also very front-heavy. The statue never sat nicely on the shelf alone, and could be damaged by day-to-day traffic in the stacks. The new housing fully supports the weight of the sculpture, and is protected from external dangers with its new box.

These rehousing efforts are just a few examples from our ongoing work to preserve Special Collections at FSU. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out all the other events being hosted for Preservation Week.

Published by Hannah Wiatt Davis

Hannah Wiatt Davis is the Preservation Librarian at FSU Special Collections & Archives.

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