Internship: My First Two Weeks

Oh, what a crazy summer it has been so far. I never showed anything from my awesome internship, so I thought I would do that. It was a crazy four weeks, so I decided to split it into two so that no one got overwhelmed.

My first day was super crazy. I did the tour stuff, when to a meeting, then lunch. and off to work. The first project I did was repairing tears in a reed organ hymnbook. Chris had previously washed the paper to remove dirt and also de-acidified the paper. I repaired the pages using wheat paste and very thin Tengujo Japanese paper. The repair often is almost invisible and will not disrupt the text. On Wednesday I learned how to do fills using Sekishu and Tengujo papers and wheat paste. I don’t have any pictures from this specific book, but here are two examples of other documents I repaired.


This is a pamphlet called Suppression of Polygamy in Utah which I did a fill for.


This conference report had a large tear that I repaired. This is one of my not-as-well done repairs.
Thursday was super cool with one of my favorite projects from the whole internship. The textile conservator had her baby Thursday morning, and a major conservation project was supposed to be finished on Friday to be returned to the family. So, Katie and I spent most of the morning over at the Museum helping repair a vest. Now, this is not just any vest. It happens to be the vest that Hyrum Smith was wearing the Carthage Jail when he was martyred.
This vest is made of silk, which was torn and deteriorating in spots. The conservation team had built the custom black form to support the vest, and it also came with a stand.
 We stabilized the torn areas by placing black and white silk crepe de chine (like high class tulle) on top and under the vest along the large tear. We then used a running stitch with small stitches on top and larger stitches on bottom to hold the silk in place. This large tear was not fully repaired because it is historically significant. The vest had to be cut from Hyrum’s body after he was killed, and this is where they cut it.

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This small hole in the back is potentially one of the bullet holes from when Hyrum was shot.
Most of the other projects I worked on seems sad in comparison, but none the less, here they are. I had finished the repairs for the hymnbook and left the folded pages in the press over the weekend to flatten them.
The next main project that I worked on was repairing perfect bound books. For most of the books, I simply did another double fan perfect binding and then reattached the covers. I did have to make new flatback cases for two of the books. And sadly, I did not get pictures of these books. I also learned how to clean the glue off a spine of a book using methyl cellulose.
Week two consisted mostly of finished some of the projects I already had started, and starting a few more. I learned how to do a strip binding, which is for books that have tight textblocks still, but the spine has been torn. I used cloth to redo the spine, and then glued the original spine piece onto the cloth.
These are all strip bindings, except for the top book, which is a perfect binding that I built a new flatback case for.

 This is similar to the strip binding, but I lifted the original cloth on the cover and then glued the new cloth underneath, so it is less obtrusive.
After cleaning the spines of some books with the methyl, I consolidated the spines with paste, lined with Japanese paper, and reattached the endbands. The next step for these books was to create a hollow, which is a folded piece of paper that is glued to the spine of the book and the spine of the case, allowing the book to open correctly and prevent further stress.
This is a book with the hollow attached to the spine right before it is glued into the case.
The final project for the week was a leather 1837 Voice of Warning by Parley P. Pratt. This book had completely had the back cover become detached. The front cover had previously been repaired, so I did the same repair on the back. I used brown Matsuo Kozo paper with PVA mix on the outside and a creme Kozo with wheat paste on the inside. I felt that this was one of my cleanest and easiest repairs, and it made me rather happy.
Front cover
Back cover: my repair
Inside back cover
I hope you enjoyed the rather long explanation of what can happen in two weeks at a conservation lab. And just be grateful I left out all of the boring meetings. Love ya,

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