Internship: My Second Two Weeks

If you thought a lot happened in the first two weeks, almost more happened in the second two. Monday was Memorial Day, so I stayed home and spent time with my family. Tuesday was super busy, but really productive. I learned how to check temperature and humidity readings at the Museum, which can be used to track changes and potential issues. I also punched holes in the hymnbook and sewed the textblock together using linen tapes. I also finished the hardcover books that had the new spine hollows by gluing the hollow and placing the book back in the case, and securing the endsheets using Japanese paper.

Thursday was rather cool because while attending a 40th anniversary for one of the employees, I saw Elder Ballard and Elder Nelson. It was the closest I had ever been to a General Authority. I also stayed late because Aaron flew in that night! It was so good to see him, although it was only for the weekend. I also took Friday off to spend time with him, and we went to my cousin’s wedding on Friday.

This is a document that needed to have some tape removed from it. I have already removed the tape using acetone, but there was still a stick residue and some transparency left. So, I soaked this document, along with some other documents in an acetone/toluene mixture, which easily removed the tape and all residue.
One of the next projects I finished was the reed organ hymnbook that I made all of the repairs on. This is the finished book, after I had soaked the original boards to remove the paper covers. I also constructed a flatback case that resembled the original construction. I then glued the paper covers on top of the cloth.
This is a picture of the inside cover. To be able to case in the textblock (or pages) into the hardcover case, I needed an extra piece. When I resewed the book, I attached a 2 inch cloth hinge to the front and back sections. When I cased in the book, I glued out these hinges, and then placed the original paper endsheets over the cloth hinge as a separate pastedown.
This is an example on the repairs I made within the book. The top of the pages had a fill to replace the missing paper. Along the edge are smaller repairs and fills.
The last major project that I worked on was repairing a 1887 Doctrine and Covenants. The book was from the St. George Temple, and would be returned to them after the repairs were made. This meant that a little more conservation work was required, which was great for me. The first steps I did were to remove the textblock from its case, undo the sewing, and wash the pages.
These images are after the pages have been washed, and are laid out to dry. The paper was initially resistant to water, so the first bath was done in alcohol. I did three subsequent baths in water, and then de-acidified the pages using calcium hydroxide and a pH level of 8-9. I then collated the book, or put the pages back in order. This is more difficult than it seems since there are multiple pages folded together, so each sheet will not have sequential numbers. There were also a number of pages that had been torn in half along the spine, so it caused more problems.
Eventually, I realized that each section had a signature. This is a small printed mark, in this case a letter, in the corner of the first page of each section. These are in order, so I quickly knew which page was first in each grouping, so the process went quickly. The next step was to repair the tears. These were mostly along the spine, and included putting the torn pages back together.

After all the repairs were made, I punched holes and started the sewing. This is a picture of a sewing frame. These are used when sewing a book together using linen tapes or cord. This book was sewn with cords because that was the original construction. I had never sewn using tapes before, so the set up took quite a while.

I also had some problems with the book fitting back in the case. This is due to all of the extra paper from the repairs. I also had some mistakes in the sewing, so I had to redue the whole thing with smaller thread.

The second one turned out much better. This is the almost finished textblock.

In this picture, I have consolidated the spine, and then rounded it so it will fit back in the case. Rounding is traditionally done to spines to remove swell. Swell is when the spine is significantly thicker than the front edge, or fore edge, of the book. Rounding helps make these two sides more even.

One thing I forgot to do was up the title pages back on. So, I used a longer piece of Japanese paper to wrap around the whole spine as the lining. This was after I consolidated and rounded everything, and the finished spine can be seen below.

The final steps were to put the textblock back in the case, or case it in. I glued in the spine, and then sealed the edges of the textblock with Japanese paper.

I absolutely loved my time at the Church History Library and was able to work on some really exciting projects. I learned a lot about what conservation concerns exist, how they can be tracked and managed, and training others as well. It was time well spent, and I would love to return on day. I hope you enjoy, and ask questions if anything does not make sense.

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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.

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

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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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Watch Full Movie Streaming Online and Download

Watch Full Movie Streaming Online and Download

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.

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 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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Internship: the Location

For the last four weeks I have been doing an internship in Utah. It was at the LDS (Mormon) Church History Library in the Conservation lab. I was assisting with a number of projects, which I will post later this week, and was highly impressed with the facilities.

The new Church History Library building did not open until June 2009, so it is a fairly new addition to the Temple Square campus. It is north of the Church Office Building, east of the Conference Center, and just across the street from the Salt Lake City Temple (post tomorrow!). The Library holds several departments, including historic sites, preservation, the library holdings and reference, acquisitions, and the Joseph Smith Papers project. The Church History Library and Archives hold a huge amount of materials chronicling the history of the Church from its beginning in 1830 to the present day. Materials include manuscripts, letters, books, Church records, photographs, oral histories, architectural drawings, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, maps, microforms, and audiovisual items. The Library works in conjunction with the Church History Museum, where art and artifacts as preserved, and the Family History Library, that specializes genealogy, to provide a fairly comprehensive historical record of Church events.

The conservation team is composed of five full-time conservators that are located in two different buildings. In the Church History Library, the team includes Chris McAfee (senior conservator and department head) and Katie Smith, both who are book and paper conservators. Russ Fuhriman is the photographs conservator, and Jennifer Hadley (textiles) and Larry Montgomery (wood objects/furniture) are located at the Church History Museum just down the street.

Church History Library
Conservation Lab


Wet room for washing books


The guillotine and encapsulator


My Desk for 4 weeks


The view from my window


The wall of book cloth and some paper


I had a wonderful time and absolutely loved the facilities. It was great to have individual work space with lots of storage. I especially love the huge wall of windows (north-facing to avoid direct sunlight) since both the type lab and bindery at school have zero windows. I hope to one day return to the Church History Library, hopefully with a job on the fourth floor (location of the conservation lab and windows). I loved everything about the Library, except for the 1:20 hour bus ride, and learned so much. Until next time,


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