Sewing a Booklet Back Together

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Some of the records we cleaned were accompanied by pamphlets like the one pictured here. They were mostly coated paper with rusting staples. The pamphlet pictured was held together with rusting staples and the middle folio had pulled almost completely free. I removed the staples. Dry cleaned the pages and guarded the innermost and outermost folios with thin, tinted kozo, and wheat starch paste, to create a strong base to anchor the sewing. I used a simple pamphlet stitch to re-sew it and Voila! a happy little pamphlet.

Soaking LP Covers Works Sometimes

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The covers of the LP records in the Czech Slovak Collection come in different formats and conditions of which some are worse than others. Then there are those few that are exceptionally awful. This is an example of a double disc set in which the inner images fused together in the water, like the pages of a book.  I had to peel away all the layers of the cardboard that I could without damaging the cover images and it all came apart except the very inner facing images. I couldn’t separate these mechanically so I put the whole thing into a tray of warm water and photo flo using sheets of remay cut to size as a transfer support. I left it to soak for a few minutes until I was sure the water had completely saturated the paper. I then took a teflon lifter and the pages came right apart. There was a piece that got stuck and came away which you can see in the photo but after I had dried and flattened the cover I was able to mend it and put the piece back where it belonged. The image was dried open, flat between two blotters beneath weight. 

Cleaning LP Covers

Friday, January 9, 2009

We have started on the covers, finally. After Caitlin and Nancy worked out the prototype, and found and ordered the proper plastic sleeves for the job, we just have to start digging in and doing the work. It makes the most sense to work on a box at a time, to get a bit of a assembly-line thing going. I first separate the dirty cardboard supports from the sheets with the printed images; sometimes these slip off easily, others require considerable coaxing. Once the entire box is free if its smelly cardboards, I begin dry cleaning each cover with a dusting of gound eraser crumbs, lightly massaging the surface to pick up the dirt. A good bit of it flakes off, but so far there has still been staining after dry cleaning. We did the 45s first, and Gary recommended we swipe the still dirty areas lightly with cotton dampened with vulpex and water. This seems to remove some staining, but I do test the inks for colorfastness. I have done two boxes so far this way, and Caitlin has taken over flattening them, since she really wanted an excuse to use the fancy sealer. After they are all clean and flat, I can slide them into the sleeve with the new .20 three flap supports. And then we coo at them, because they are finished and pretty.

Salvaging 45 Record Covers: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

November 18, 2008

Unlike most of the LP covers, the 45 covers are typically printed directly onto the cardboard instead of printed separately and then adhered. This can be helpful or it can be a huge problem as in the case on the right. When this cover got wet, the image was transferred to the plastic sleeve it was in, when we cut it out of the sleeve in our initial cleaning and drying period the image came with it. We were forced to keep the plastic with the cover to save the image. The only thing that could be done was to scan the cover and use a print as a replacement, which is what you see below on the right. 

The cover on the left was in very good condition, many of the 45s were double or triple bagged in plastic and so were untouched by the water. We haven’t been through them all yet but the process is very similar to that of the LP covers. First we dry clean, then we spot clean with the vulpex/water solution. We flatten and mend if necessary and then collate with the corresponding record in a new polyethylene sleeve. 

Archival Boxes Provide Protection

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Here’s proof that an archival box does what it is supposed to do, even under extreme conditions — provides protection! You would never guess that this box of newspapers was in a flood. This box of newspapers was rinsed before being sent to be freeze-dried. That’s the extent of treatment so far.

Tough Decisions

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stefanie Kohn, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library curator, spent the afternoon with us. We reviewed all the objects with her, making sure we had correctly identified those that belong to the Czech/Slovak Museum. Although most items were well marked and quite obvious as to whether they belonged to the Czech/Slovak or the African American Museum, a few items slipped through the cracks and needed to be identified. Stefanie had to make some tough decisions. The museum can not afford to have all items conserved.

Documents Arrive From Freeze Dry Facility

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The items that were sent off to be freeze dried came back today. The books from the National Czech & Slovak Library & Museum are back on skids in the NCSLM building in Cedar Rapids. The materials from the African American Museum of Iowa and the Johnson County Historical Society were delivered to the University of Iowa Main Library. We couldn’t wait to see what the books looked like so we opened up a few boxes right away. The items from the JCHS collection were flooded from underground water so they aren’t muddy. These ledgers from the JCHS are wrinkled and show some bleeding of ink — all in all, not too bad!

Here’s hoping the rest look as good.

Ghosting on 78s

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

While cleaning the records for the Czech Slovak museum, we noticed that upon drying, some of the 78s had some residual “ghosting”.  We tried a second wash but we couldn’t diminish the staining.  We took a couple of the 78s over to the Audio Visual department to do a test run with Rod Mickle. The records played but had very poor sound quality. Rod said that they could be enhanced digitally but that it would be very time consuming and expensive. He explained that what we were seeing was dirt lodged in the grooves of the records. We plan to do a second cleaning and hope that will diminish more of the ghosting. 

Moving On!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

When we finished the record project at the Oakdale paper facility we moved everything to the main library except a few boxes of LP covers which we put in our remote storage area in Oakdale Hall. We scrubbed and bleached everything we had used to make sure we weren’t leaving behind any of the mold or sludge we had cleaned from the albums and their covers.