Recent Activities for Curation & Preservation Services

Members from Curation and Preservation Services (CPS), had the opportunity this semester to participate in several outreach activities. Off campus, we visited the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in North Andover. NEDCC was the first independent conservation laboratory in the nation and they specialize in book and paper conservation and digitization.

After the overview about the center given by Julie Martin, Bill Veillette, the director of NEDCC, led us on a tour that included the imaging studio, digital scanning lab and audio content preservation lab. Photographer, David Joyall, explained the benefits of having conservators in-house and their ability to offer of object handling guidance when needed.


The “XY” table.

It was interesting to learn how specialists image oversized flat objects with equipment called the “XY” table. Instead of shifting an object, this large custom-designed table moves in many directions to enable the object to align with the camera lens. This reduces the handling of the artifact during image capture. The lighting set-up remains in a fixed position.

In the spacious paper conservation lab, we saw many oversized objects are in process of treatment. Monique Fischer, the senior photo conservator, showed us photography and Elisabetta Polidori, the Kress Fellow, explained pigment consolidation of Ethiopian binding. MP Bogan, head of Book Conservation Lab showed us a variety of project and works. Some books were already conserved beautifully while others are a waiting treatment.

CPS recently provided a four-part webinar series on audiovisual preservation presented by the NEDCC to selected members of the MIT community who work with film and video collections.

Other Recent Events:


Participants making books and folding locked letters at MIT’s first annual Minimaker Faire.

Fall activities also included the latest installment of instructional letterlocking videos on MIT’s TechTV made for the Courtly Rivals exhibit at The Hague Historical Museum and the grand opening of CPS’s Digital Sustainabilty Lab. On October 4th over 100 attendees at MIT’s first annual minimaker faire visited our booth to learn how to sew pamphet journals and lock facsimilie letters modeled after a letter William Barton Rogers wrote to his father. A few days later, CPS staff members went on a guided tour of Acme and Harcourt Bindery, our colleague Jenn Morris blogged about it.

Conservators participated in the fourth annual OrigaMIT convention, a meeting dedicated to paper folding at MIT and in December presented a brown bag talk, “Conservation Collaborations at MIT Libraries” hosted by the MIT Libraries Program on Information Science.

Stay tuned! Curation and Preservation Services has several programs lined up this winter including January IAPs and a lecture in February about John Donne’s letterlocking practices.