Library conservation labs welcome community at annual open house

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During Preservation Week (April 27 – May 3), the Library’s Weissman Preservation Center and Collections Care unit welcomed more than 75 visitors to learn more about methods, tools, and materials.

Presses, cutters, solvents, brushes, needles, and paper patches galore were on display at Weissman, as well as some of the materials being treated, such as 19th-century volumes riddled with miniscule holes from insect damage, antique letters with bleeding ink, daguerreotypes destabilized through the passage of time, and Benedict Arnold’s papers. “There are a lot of spies and intrigue in this box,” said Livy Bailin, a conservation technician, of the latter. (View full slideshow on the Library Portal.)

Kai Fay, a library assistant at the Chemistry Library, is a repeat visitor. “I’ve always loved coming to these events and getting to see the incredible materials.”

“We feel very fortunate to be able to work in a hands-on way with Harvard’s amazing special collections and the open house gives us a chance to share that experience with our library colleagues. This year was especially rich in lively and engaged conversations,” said Brenda Bernier, head of the Weissman Center. “I informally asked about 15 guests which object they liked best from the tour. To my surprise, they all said something different! That speaks volumes about the incredible breadth of the library collections.”