Conservation


 

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At the bench

Hi! My name is Emilie Duncan, and I am the 2017 Lennox conservation intern. I come to Iowa from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC), by way of Charlottesville, Virginia, where I just completed my third year internship at the University of Virginia Library. Although technically I do not graduate with my Library and Archival Materials Conservation degree until later in August, the completion of my internship year is a major achievement and I am viewing this internship at ISU as my first post-graduate professional position. I was drawn to this internship because of the collections here at Parks Library, which include a wide range of archival materials, rare books, and objects. I studied Historic Preservation in undergrad, and from this gained an interest in historical objects of use as well as architectural and technical drawings. This internship will allow me to gain additional experience with these types of materials in an academic library setting.

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Reviewing materials for a library exhibit with an online component

I am just getting started here at ISU, but I already have several treatment and non-treatment projects going, which I will be writing about in future posts. Part of my learning experience here will be simply understanding how the lab works and how the workflows are adapted to the specific collections and user population at Iowa State. By comparing and contrasting this information with other conservation labs I have worked in and will work in, I can gain insight that will help me make the most of my environments in the future.

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First treatment, generated by a patron’s digitization order

I am really looking forward to settling into the flow of the lab and exploring campus and beautiful Ames (although I will admit I am glad I won’t be here to experience an Iowan winter!) You will hear from me again soon!

There are many things that go into what we call “job satisfaction”. These things differ from individual to individual.  Some of us may be looking for innovation and for a challenge. Others want to feel that they are a part of a team. Still others want to be left alone to do their work so that they can experience their “flow”.  Looking around my office today, I was reminded of the things that make my job satisfying to me.

I feel that my family is always at work with me (in a good way!), it’s a family-friendly culture. It is understood that our lives at home matter. Being able to devote our time and energy to our “other” lives after work makes us better employees. Friendlier, more enthusiastic, more relaxed and, consequently, better-functioning in stressful situations. Not having to worry about taking off time to take my kid to the dentist or to go to a school conference gives me peace of mind that feeds back into my work.

Another thing that I feel lucky about at work is that I am encouraged to carve out time for treatment. Yeah yeah yeah, we all know it’s easier said than done. But receiving validation in this elusive pursuit keeps me trying. I love treatment! Most of us got into this profession because we wanted to be at the bench. Which is a hard place to stay, if you ever started your career there in the first place. But like I said – I keep on trying. For me, treatment is work, fun and therapy all rolled into one. So heck, I am certainly motivated!

We spend more time at work than we do at home with our loved ones. We’ve got to make sure that we enjoy it, as much as possible!

 

A Cute Little Box

There are days when you see something and you just need to make a box for it. We had a punch set that we use in box making and its outer wrapper of hard clear plastic was falling apart with broken edges of sharp rough plastic. It definitely needed to be tossed. I like to keep up on my box making skills so a quick box was in order.

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When I am making boxes one of my favorite book cloths to work with is Canapetta Natural. I like the feel, look, and workability of this book cloth.

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I used Velcro coins (dots) to hold the box securely shut when not in use. The black foam insert and cover label that was in the plastic box easily transferred over to this new box. If this box needed to be used for something else or we purchase a bigger punch set, this box can be easily converted to its next job. Now I won’t worry about losing punch pieces!

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Anyone that know me knows how I love rice krispie treats and many years ago I made a batch and ate them all in one day. The next day my mouth was so sore from the abrasive nature of the rice krispies but I just couldn’t help myself. You only do that once. So recently I had a project to work on that was tempting as it still smelled good after 16 years from when first made. It was the World’s Largest Cereal Treat, Rice Krispies Treat confirmed by the Guinness World Records on Friday, April 20, 2001 during Veishea, a campus wide celebration.

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies were developed in 1927. What is really interesting is that the rice krispie treat was invented by an Iowa State University alumna, a 1928 graduate of College of Home Economics Mildred Day along with co-worker Malitta Jensen while working at Kellogg’s and used the marshmallow treat as a fundraiser for the Camp Fire Girls shortly after its invention in the 1930s. The “marshmallow squares” were revealed to the public market in the 1940s with its recipe published on a cereal boxes in 1941.Image result for mildred day rice krispies treats Mildred Day

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Image result for mildred day rice krispies treats

Image result for mildred day rice krispies treats

Iowa State University was able to smash the current record holder of a 2,260 pound treat set in October 1997 at Michigan State University. After many batches of treats were made they ended up with a 2,480 pound treat from 818 pounds of Rice Krisipies, 1,466 pounds of marshmallows, and 217 pounds of butter. Image result for mildred day rice krispies treats

After the treat was made it was weighed in at the Physical Plant with cameras marking the progress all along the event. Following the Veishea Parade, the treat was sold on central campus with proceeds given to the Youth & Shelter Services in Ames.

So there’s the history on the Rice Krisipie Treats now back to the one sitting on my desk. I needed to have it go through our freezer process to eliminate any “bug or mold” potential, then I encapsulated it, carved out a bed in Ethaform then lined the bottom with Volara, and added a sewing cloth tape tab to lift it out of the box. This way it is much easier and safer to handle and protected from the elements of storage.

And if you don’t have the time or patience to make the crispy treats you can purchase them premade on your grocery store shelves.  I enjoy them from the Parks Library’s Bookends Café as they are a regular treat made through ISU Dining.

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And for those who can’t get enough of the flavor of marshmallows and Rice Krispies.Rice Krispies Treats Flavored Lip Balm

So there you have probably more information than you ever imagined about the famous Guinness World’s Record holding Iowa State University’s 2001 Rice Krispie Treat and Mildred Day, ISU alumna and inventor.  This item can be viewed at the Parks Library in the Special Collections and University Archives Department.  Now I’m hungry for one!

 

 

A few weeks ago I co-taught a workshop at MAC, Midwest Archives Conference in Omaha, NE. I worked together with two lovely colleagues from the University of Kansas – Conservator of Special Collections Angela Andres and Assistant Conservator Roberta Woodrick.

The workshop was called Exhibit Support Basics: Solutions for Small Institutions and Small Budgets. Our group of 9 participants included librarians, archivists and one registrar. They came from institutions ranging from the Midwest Archaeological Center in Lincoln, Nebraska to Minnesota State University Library.

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During the workshop we presented demos of 2 variations on an exhibit support for a flat item and one model of a book cradle. Both were made from mat board. The participants fearlessly forged on, showing confidence with blades and rulers. All of them said that they had never used bone folders and scalpels before! Several of the ladies remarked on how good it felt to work with their hands and how satisfying it was to be able to complete a finite project.

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Participants hard at work on their book cradles

Here are some anonymous comments from our students, as reported in the online workshop evaluation survey:

“Presenters were great. They spoke about realistic solutions to challenges. The hands on component was very valuable.”

“I could see this being a whole-day workshop, covering even more exhibit support ideas.”

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Examples of completed work

Angela wrote about this very same workshop on the KU blog

 

 

Next week here at the ISU Library we will be celebrating Preservation Week! It’s a wonderful time that we can devote to reaching out to the community and educating them on what we (and they) can do to preserve our personal and shared collections.

This year we will be hosting another Preservation Clinic: Ask the Experts that is open to the public. We invite those that are local to bring in a family heirloom or collectable and we will provide you with information on how you can properly care for and handle your item. We will be joined by some guest experts from the State Historical Society of Iowa as well as the Textiles & Clothing Museum. We will also have a representative from Digital Initiatives available to discuss our digital collections and the new Bomb transcription project that you may remember from our previous post.

If you are in central Iowa next week we invite you to come and join us and if you aren’t local I encourage you to check out the Preservation Week website for a lot of quality information on protecting our treasures!

One of the items that was used for the current Special Collections and University Archives ISU Pammel Court exhibit (designed by the History 481x class) is this little book. For the exhibit they wanted to show both the cover and one of the interior pages displayed as one piece.

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With a quick sketch I came up with this:

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I then had to think about how to hold the book up so it didn’t slide off the display wedge.

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And then I had to figure out the dimensions….hmmmm…..

I drew out the 45 degree template and put the spine of the book along the diagonal. I went up about ¾ of the way and dropped a line down to the base. That gave me the measurements for the angled front piece, the back and the base.

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I extended the base measurement out to make the lip that holds the book.

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Then transferred all those measurements to a scrap piece of scrap board. Base, front, back, base with extension, face for book stop wedge, the piece the book will rest against, and the inner base to tape down.

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I took those measurements and laid them out on the mat board and scored the lines about ¾ of the way through on what will be the bottom side of the base and added a piece of double stick tape to hold the book stop and inner base to the larger base.

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And removed the little bit that wasn’t needed.

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Double stick tape was used to hold the lip and the bottom pieces of the book support together after the book stop had already been folded and taped down.

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This is what the final piece looked like from the side…

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and from the front with a copy of the selected page.

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