Smithsonian Libraries and Archives

New Video Series Highlights Book Conservation Treatments

Introductory graphic for “Adopt-a-Book: Preserving Treasures Together” video series. (Smithsonian Libraries and Archives)
Introductory graphic for “Adopt-a-Book: Preserving Treasures Together” video series. (Smithsonian Libraries and Archives)

Curious about our conservators’ favorite books or trickiest treatments? While they’ve had to step away from the bench during the pandemic, our Preservation Services staff have been hard at work describing some of their remarkable conservation techniques in video form.

In honor of Preservation Week (April 25 – May 1, 2021) we invite you to learn more about the work of our Book Conservation Lab as well as our Adopt-a-Book program through a new video series, “Adopt-a-Book: Preserving Treasures Together”. Embedded below are the first five videos in the series. You can also find them in a playlist on our YouTube channel. Watch as our conservators introduce you to some of the memorable books they’ve worked with and walk you step-by-step through some tough treatments they’ve completed thanks to donor support.

Want to hear more about our Adopt-a-Book program? Tickets are still available for our next virtual event, Adopt-a-Book Salon: From the Vaults tonight, Wednesday on April 28th at 5:30 PM ET.

Adopt-a-Book: Preserving Treasures Together – How it Works
Our Adopt-a-Book Program provides crucial support for the care of our collections. But how does it work? Book Conservation Lab staff Donald Stankavage and Keala Richard created this video to walk you through the process.

Adopt-a-Book: Preserving Treasures Together – Baby Bird-Finder
Watch as Daniel Viltsek, book conservator, shares his process for the preservation of a rare book–from spine repair to leather contouring.

Adopt-a-Book: Preserving Treasures Together – Auctoritates extracte ex Libris phi[losophorum]
Vanessa Smith, book conservator and Head, Preservation Services, describes the delicate work involved in treating a 15th century book of ancient philosophy, Auctoritates extracte ex Libris phi[losophorum].

Adopt-a-Book: Preserving Treasures Together – Le Cheval
Katie Wagner, Senior Book Conservator, highlights the treatment of Le cheval, a rare 19th century equine anatomy book with 16 lithograph plates and movable parts.

Adopt-a-Book: Preserving Treasures Together – Wendingen
Daniel Viltsek shares his process for using raffia to recreate a stab binding on the Dutch design journal Wendingen.

Erin Rushing

Erin Clements Rushing is the Outreach Librarian for Smithsonian Libraries and Archives. She enjoys sharing the Libraries and Archives' treasures with new audiences and telling the stories from the stacks through various outreach efforts. She coordinates social media and the blog (Unbound), plans tours and manages the internship program. She also handles rights and reproductions for library collection images and acts as point person for copyright concerns. Erin holds an M.L.S from the University of Maryland, as well as a B.A. in History and Art History.

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