A peek into the Conservation Lab

Ever wonder what the conservators are up to on our third floor? Here’s a peek into what’s happening in the Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory this month:

The team is in full treatment mode for the Library’s upcoming exhibition, “Symbols of Honor: Heraldry and Family History in Shakespeare’s England,” opening this summer. Before every exhibition, of course, the conservation team reviews the items to be displayed to do any necessary work to repair or stabilize them. Here are a few of the items that they’re working on at the moment:

Adrienne Bell, Book Conservator, is plugging away on guarding and getting back together the extremely damaged textblocks of this manuscript book of mottoes (Folger MS V.b.202):

damaged textblocks

damaged textblocks

Rhea de Stefano, Senior Paper Conservator, is preparing for an aqueous treatment on this history of the Dering family (Folger MS Z.e.27):

paper before its aqueous treatment

paper before its aqueous treatment

Renate Mesmer, Eric Weinmann Head of Conservation, is trying to get this book, broken in two pieces, back together without pulling the textblock:

a broken binding

a broken binding

And Alessandra Quadrelli, our current Conservation Trainee, is working on this fragile 1597 manuscript by William Smith, “Alphabet or blazon of arms” (Folger MS V.b.217). Bound in very brittle leather, with the joints broken and the first pages tattered, it’s clearly in need of some care before it can be shown:

a fragile binding

a fragile binding

If you’ve been to one of our exhibits, you’ll know how great our materials look. It’s thanks to the work of the conservators that not only can the items be displayed in an exhibition, but that they can be preserved to be consulted by researchers for years to come. We’ll feature more quick peeks into the Conservation Lab in coming months to give a sense of what they’re up to. And if you’re going to be in DC between July 1 and October 26, come by and see “Symbols of Honor: Heraldry and Family History in Shakespeare’s England,” curated by Nigel Ramsay and Heather Wolfe.

Author: The Collation

The Collation is the author used for "crocodile mystery" posts, Q&A's with Folger staff, and other general posts.

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