Preservation/conservation internship

Earlier this month, I started a three-month-long preservation/conservation internship at the Baker Library, Harvard Business School. The library has both general (circulating and serials) and what they call historical (special and archives) collections.

This stock exchange booth used to be the reference desk; now, it resides in the basement. (Forgive the poor image quality. There's only so much you can do with an iPod Touch camera.)

This stock exchange booth used to be the reference desk; now, it resides in the basement. (Forgive the poor image quality. There’s only so much you can do with an iPod Touch camera.)

Unlike my work at Beatley, which is largely unsupervised (at least in terms of specific repairs), the internship offers me a lot of guidance—which means that the two positions actually complement each other really well. Given that I’ve already written a little about my work at Beatley, I thought I’d describe a little bit about what I’ve worked on at Baker so far.

I’m at Baker two days a week, for a total of ten hours. The internship (at least, as it has been structured for own own needs) aims to give me a good overview of what goes on in a preservation department. Thus far, I’ve worked on measuring for/ordering and constructing CMI boxes, processing serials to be sent off for binding, making/inserting pockets and CD envelopes into bound serials, checking pest traps (I now know what a psocid looks like—huzzah!), covering weights with book cloth, photography/documentation, and surface cleaning of photographs.

Eraser crumbs, before (left) and after (right) surface cleaning.

Eraser crumbs, before (left) and after (right) surface cleaning.

Having listed everything together like this, I feel even better about my experiences at Baker so far (and I’d already felt pretty good). I’ve gotten to try out a lot of different things in this short period of time, and while I’m obviously not an expert in any of them, I’ve still been improved by these experiences. I have plenty more ahead of me—and I’m particularly looking forward to getting to shadow some of the staff as they perform conservation treatments. Assuming that this semester isn’t as busy as the last one (here’s hoping), I should be able to check in with another “internship in-progress” post or two, but at the very least, I’ll be sure to post a summary of sorts when it’s over.

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