Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Lending a hand to a museum in need

by Conservation

6/21/2018

behind the scenes , conservation , Gutenberg

While in Houston for the annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), our paper conservator had the opportunity to use her expertise to help a small museum.  The Printing Museum in Houston has a staff of only three professionals and a collection of historic printing presses and printed material from the earliest days of printing in Asia to the invention of the home computer.  Our conservator joined 13 volunteer conservators to participate for the day in an Angels Project organized by AIC to document and safely house part of the museum’s collection of newspapers from the early 1700s to the early 2000s. 

Objects conservators in the group advised the staff of the proper care of their replica Gutenberg press that is used regularly to demonstrate how the first press to use moveable type works.  Working in a small room packed with conservators was a fun change from normal days in the CAM paper lab.  And it was a reminder that when working with archival materials, no matter how interesting they are, the work won’t get done if we read everything that is placed in front of us!