Since the Lennox Foundation Internship was just posted for 2011, I thought I would take the opportunity to highlight all of our incredible interns, all of whom we are very proud of and enjoyed having in the department.

A little plug for the internship first. This is an annual, paid graduate internship in preservation and conservation, that is funded by an endowment from the Lennox Foundation (the heating and cooling folks). The endowment covers a stipend, university apartment, travel to and from Ames, Iowa, and some support for professional development.  This year we decided to extend the internship to 12 weeks from 8, since we felt that by the time the interns were just getting comfortable they had to leave.

Let’s meet the interns:

Carie McGinnis demonstrates a paper conservation technique to questioned document specialists.

In 2006, we hosted our first intern.  Carie McGinnis joined us from the University of Texas at Austin where she was finishing her Master’s degree with an emphasis in preservation administration.  Carie not only assisted us in teaching several workshops during the summer including a Midwest Association of Forensic Scientists workshop on preserving deteriorated documents, she also made recommendations for updating our disaster response plan, and performed a limited condition survey in Special Collections. After completing the internship and graduating, she served as the collections conservator at Harvard’s Widener Library for two years, and then went on to become the first preservation librarian for Harvard’s Houghton Library, where she is currently hiring a conservator.

Ilse Entlesberger not only honed her conservation skills but also spent weekends exploring Iowa and cheered on the Cyclones at her first American football game.

Ilse Entlesberger (2007), a conservation student at the University of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria, and researching incunabula paper at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria, became our second intern.  Never having been to the United States before, Ilse was excited to experience a different culture and was drawn to our internship for the opportunity to compare conservation practices and philosophies in the U.S. and Austria, and to practice bench skills on circulating library materials (something not emphasized in her training). She also had the opportunity to meet Tim Barrett and talk with him about her research on incunabula paper.  After finishing her master’s thesis on the discoloration of incunabula paper in January 2007 and graduating, she has since gone on to work as the book conservator for the Regional Library of Upper Austria.

Kathleen Fear, taking a break from digital preservation issues, spent two weeks sharpening her book repair skills.

Kathleen Fear (2008) joined us from the University of Michigan’s School of Information and brought with her digital library experience.  She, like our previous interns, was shown the functions of an academic library preservation program through exposure to the daily workflow, policies, decision-making and priority setting in each unit.  In addition, her project focused on recommendations for digital preservation of the objects created by Digital Initiatives and designing a model for a digital repository.  She also assisted us in developing and moving this program forward by working with the new Digital Initiatives team to establish the ground work for our George Washington Carver digital collection.  Kathleen is now working on her PhD at the University of Michigan, focusing on digital preservation.

After touring the conservation labs at the Minnesota Historical Society, Bexx Caswell gets blown away by a tornado in the "Weather Permitting" exhibit.

Bexx Caswell (2009), a book conservator and book artist, received her MLS from Simmons College and conservation training from the North Bennett Street School.  She focused on honing her conservation skills including decision-making and bench work. One of her treatments turned into a research project of sorts.  After creating a beautiful cradle box for our St. Thomas Aquinas incunabula she began researching the volume’s history.  Based on the date, blind tooling, style of binding, and evidence of hardware, she was able to determine the region and likely printer/binder of this work.  She has returned to Boston and is now the Vail Conservation Technician for the MIT Libraries.

Kristi Westberg and conservation staff spent the afternoon making their own bone folders out of deer bones.

This year we were able to host two interns, Kristi Westberg and Henry Hebert. On day one of their internships they were immersed in Gawain Weaver’s “Care and Identification of Photographs” workshop that we hosted at Parks Library. Both Kristi and Henry performed book conservation work on the recently acquired Bob Harvey collection on landscape architecture, creating custom fit boxes, leather repair, and other stabilization treatments. With their hard work, many of the volumes were available for the fall exhibit for this collection.

Kristi also performed condition surveys on special and general collections materials since she had not received that opportunity through her book and paper conservation training at West Dean College in London. She has returned to the UK to be the Institute of Conservation (ICON) intern at the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library in Derry, Ireland. Kristi writes a blog about her work conserving this historic collection, the core of which was originally bequeathed to the Diocese by Archbishop King in 1729.

Henry Hebert treating a page from a Civil War diary.

Henry also worked with our Digital Initiatives unit on establishing a workflow for our Civil War diaries. After familiarizing himself with our digitization procedures and assessing the condition of the diaries, he developed scanning recommendations and treatment proposals for each of the diaries, and performed all treatments after scanning. Henry completed his MLS from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and has gone on to train in book conservation at the North Bennett Street School. Henry writes a blog, called Work of the Hand, documenting his training at North Bennett Street School.