Preservation and conservation services at the MIT libraries

During the last session of my Collection Maintenance class, we visited Preservation and Conservation Services at the MIT Libraries, housed in the Wunsch Conservation Laboratory. Located in the basement of Hayden Library, the department handles preservation; reformatting; shelf, exhibit, and disaster preparation; conservation treatment; and outreach. We spent some time talking with both Anne Marie Willer, Preservation Librarian (general collections), and Nancy Shrock, the Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. Conservator (special collections), who gave us introductions to their respective fields. It was especially interesting to hear about the decision workflows used for the treatment of general collections, and to see some of the work being done by the conservators on the special collections.

Nancy and her staff show us some of the projects they've been working on.

Nancy and her staff show us some of the projects they’ve been working on.

Some recently conserved items sit on a (height-adjustable) desk.

Some recently conserved items sit on a (height-adjustable) desk.

A view down the length of the ("C"-shaped) lab. To the near right, Nancy is showing us some recent projects. To the immediate left are those recently conserved items mentioned above. To the far right would be the entrance to the lab and some general collections processing.

A view down the length of the (“C”-shaped) lab. To the near right, Nancy is showing us some recent projects. To the immediate left are those recently conserved items mentioned above. To the far right would be the entrance to the lab and some general collections processing.

If you’re interested in seeing more (and better) images from the Wunsch Conservation Laboratory, there’s a photostream for the MIT LIbraries on Flickr; several different sets are devoted to the lab.

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