preservation

Preservation through Poetry:

Tape is Evil

Tape is evil, tape is bad
Tape makes Preservation staff really really mad.
Scotch, masking, duct or the blue one used by a painter,
None of these should be used; you’ll thank us later.
Tape is made of two parts: a carrier and the glue
One will degrade over time, the other too.
The carrier will dry out, crumble and crack,
The adhesive will seep out or lose its tack.
The glue could ooze onto the photos, you see
Or it could fuse the papers, we won’t get them free.
Normally tape would be used for attaching fragments and closing rips.
But this is not the best archival practice, please take these tips.
So what should be used instead, you ask?
We have a couple options, depending on the task.
First, we could mend it using a wheat starch paste,
Which is applied to an archival tissue, with ease, not haste.
The tissue with paste is then laid over the fragment or tear,
Providing stabilization for the paper from handling and wear.
Second, if the page is torn or has fragments abound,
We place them in a Mylar sleeve, so later they can be found.
The sleeve keeps the loose fragments together with the original sheet,
Without all the pieces, this page would be incomplete.
The longevity of the papers and photos are what we guarantee,
Here in the St. Louis Preservation Lab at the NPRC.

7 Underwater Facts for World Oceans Day

Today is World Oceans Day, a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. A healthy world ocean is critical to our survival. Together, let’s honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans!

1. While the Earth’s oceans are known as five separate entities, there is really only one ocean.

2. The ocean contains upwards of 99% of the world’s biosphere, that is, the spaces and places where life exists.

Both above GIFs are from the TED-Ed Lesson How big is the ocean? - Scott Gass

Animation by 20 steps

3. Jellyfish are soft because they are 95% water and are mostly made of a translucent gel-like substance called mesoglea. With such delicate bodies, jellyfish rely on thousands of venom-containing stinging cells called cnidocytes for protection and prey capture.

From the TED-Ed Lesson How does a jellyfish sting? - Neosha S Kashef

Animation by Cinematic

4. Plastics & litter that make their way into our oceans are swiftly carried by currents, ultimately winding up in huge circulating ocean systems called gyres. The earth has five gyres that act as gathering points, but the largest of all is known as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ and has grown so immense that the oceanic garbage patch can shift from around the size of Texas, to something the size of the United States. 

From the TED-Ed Lesson The nurdles’ quest for ocean domination - Kim Preshoff

Animation by Reflective Films

5. The 200 or so species of octopuses are mollusks belonging to the order Cephalopoda, Greek for ‘head-feet’. Those heads contain impressively large brains, with a brain to body ratio similar to that of other intelligent animals, and a complex nervous system with about as many neurons as that of a dog.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why the octopus brain is so extraordinary - Cláudio L. Guerra

Animation by Cinematic

6. Some lucky animals are naturally endowed with bioluminescence, or the ability to create light. The firefly, the anglerfish, and a few more surprising creatures use this ability in many ways, including survival, hunting, and mating.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The brilliance of bioluminescence - Leslie Kenna

Animation by Cinematic

7. Sea turtles ultimately grow from the size of a dinner plate to that of a dinner table. In the case of the leatherback sea turtle, this can take up to a decade. Happy World Turtle Day!

From the TED-Ed Lesson The survival of the sea turtle - Scott Gass

Animation by Cinematic Sweden

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Shelf Life episode 15 uncovers The Guts and Glory of Object Conservation. In the Museum’s Objects Conservation Laboratory, walrus intestines, birch bark, and reindeer hide are all in a day’s work for conservators trying to preserve Siberian anthropology collections for the future.

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ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK IN THE CONSERVATION LAB AT ARCHIVES II

The Conservation Lab at Archives II recently hosted two Alternative Spring Break interns. The interns worked on a rehousing project for lantern slides. Guided by our photo conservators, they helped to treat, sleeve, and box lantern slides from the Army Air Force. And as an added bonus they found some interesting images!

[RG 18 Army Air Forces, lantern slides of aviation history, ca. 1903-1927]

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KAYAPO COURAGE: “The Amazon tribe has beaten back ranchers and gold miners and famously stopped a dam. Now its leaders must fight again or risk losing a way of life.” ~ Chip Brown.  photography by Martin Schoeller - full story & gallery via National Geographic (January 2014)

  • “YNHIRE expresses his identity as a warrior with a headdress of parrot feathers.”
  • “BEPRO wears the beads and cotton-wrapped earrings that boys receive as part of their naming ceremony.”
  • “ROPNI, an internationally known chief, is one of the few Kayapo who still wear the mahogany lip plate.”
  • “PHNH-OTI has an inverted V shaved into her scalp, a ceremonial female practice.”
  • “BEPRAN-TI wears an impressive display of feathers for his betrothal ceremony, a Kayapo rite of passage.”
  • “MEKARON-TI, the great chief, speaks Portuguese and is a powerful advocate for his people.”
Hello, ALA Preservation Week!

It’s the American Library Association’s Preservation Week, and we’ll be sharing some of the cool stuff happening in our own preservation department today through Friday.

Today on Verso, book conservator Kristi Westberg describes the process of performing repairs on a copy of a 16th-century astronomy book censored by the Roman Catholic Church. Kristi used something called solvent set tissue to make her repairs, and she made the solvent set tissue in-house. Here’s a peek at the process:

First, Kristi pours an adhesive called Klucel G into a tray.

Next, she uses a brush to pick up some of the adhesive.

She then spreads a thin layer of the adhesive onto a sheet of clear polyester.

Finally, she lays a piece of lightweight Japanese paper on the adhesive.

Then she leaves it to dry. Voilà! Solvent set tissue! Head to Verso to read about how Kristi used the tissue in her repairs.