(original text by Madison Brockman, conservation graduate student at Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation)
Summer has officially ended, but with the start of every fall quarter comes the return of a beloved institution – the “Solid Gold Sound” marching band! The band has a long and celebrated history here at UCLA, but did you know that a fascinating relic of this history is preserved in the University Archives?
The University Archives of UCLA contain an extensive film collection dating as far into the past as 1928, even before the construction of the Westwood campus. Many films cannot be safely projected and seen in their original format due to the fragility of their age, and thus require frame by frame inspection. Some are silent, and some possess magnetic soundtracks that cannot be played on equipment owned by the UCLA Library, so the majority cannot reveal to us their original context unless digitized.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful illuminations from the Gladzor Gospels magnified in incredible detail. Part of my job as Loans Coordinator is to make sure our Head of Conservation, Chela Metzger, inspects the physical condition of all items that might go out on loan to other institutions for exhibits. In this case, Chela was testing the paint consolidation on a few of the leaves from the Gladzor Gospels in preparation for a potential loan in 2018.
For the past ten years, the Audiovisual Preservation Exchange program has been coordinated by graduate students and professors of New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program (MIAP) to foster international collaboration and hands-on preservation projects with a variety of archives and collections.
As I’m sure everyone knows from dropping a book in the bathtub, getting paper wet can be bad. However, paper conservation often involves washing paper to help the object.
How do you transport over 140 pounds of supplies and equipment to Cuba to digitize nearly 70 year-old radio broadcasts that were recorded on an extremely fragile format, without the luxury of shipping services and with limited Internet access at your destination for troubleshooting?
Research. Planning. More planning. And developing some mad roadie packing skills.
Every day is preservation day at the UCLA Library. Preservation is written into our vision statement, and all of us work to make sure scholarship and heritage, no matter what the format, will remain accessible to the world.
This year’s American Library Association Preservation Week theme is textile preservation, and institutions around the world will be using the hashtag #preswk to talk about their preservation programs and services.
Curious about the process of book conservation treatment? Be sure to visit UCLA Library Special Collections this week for a flash exhibit featuring a recently completed book treatment! The exhibit includes the book, its new protective box, samples of materials used in the treatment, as well as photos and descriptions of various treatment steps.
In conservation we often work on objects that take our breath away. Many times its because they are amazing, sometimes its because they give off noxious fumes. My work on the Carrie F. Young Diploma from 1884 was both.