Willman Spawn Conservation Internship

The Library of the American Philosophical Society (APS) is seeking applicants with significant previous paper and/or book conservation experience for this year’s Willman Spawn Conservation Internship. The successful candidate will report to the APS Conservation Department and will gain practical experience in a professional conservation laboratory through conservation treatment of manuscripts, books, documents, and other graphic materials on paper, as well as environmental monitoring and rehousing of materials. The intern’s special interests and specific goals will be considered as part of the internship. The intern will also be expected to write a blog post about the internship and to give an informal talk to library staff.

Founded in 1743, the Library of the American Philosophical Society, located near Independence Hall in Philadelphia, is a leading international center for research in the history of American and European science and technology, early American history and culture, and Native American languages and cultures. The Library houses over 13 million manuscript leaves, 275,000 volumes and bound periodicals, thousands of prints and maps, and large audio, video, and digital holdings. Outstanding historical collections and subject areas include the papers of Benjamin Franklin (14,000 letters and documents); Jefferson’s holograph of the Declaration of Independence; western scientific expeditions and travel, including the original journals of Lewis and Clark; polar exploration; history of physics and 20th-century medical research.

The APS Conservation Department currently has a staff of two conservators: Head of Conservation Anne Downey, a paper conservator, and Assistant Conservator Renée Wolcott, a book conservator. An Assistant Paper Conservator will be joining the department in October. Together the conservation staff is responsible for item-level conservation of library materials, surveying the collections for conservation and preservation needs, monitoring the library environment, and preparing library materials for loan and exhibition.

This year’s internship is designed for college graduates who are now in the process of applying to graduate programs in art conservation, graduate students who are currently pursuing studies in an accredited master’s program in art conservation, and conservators who have graduated from such a program within the last 12 months. The internship may be full time or part time, and the length and start date of the internship are negotiable. The internship is temporary and will pay $16–$20 per hour based on the intern’s previous conservation experience. Pay is capped at a total of $8,786 for the internship period, and no benefits are offered with this position. Preference will be given to applicants who have previous library conservation treatment experience and can work independently with little supervision.

Applications will be accepted through August 24, 2018.

The American Philosophical Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Successful applicants will be asked to show proof that they legally can work in the United States.

To apply, upload CV or résumé, a cover letter explaining qualifications for and interest in the position and three references (not letters of reference, please) to http://apply.interfolio.com/52258.

Please direct any questions to Renée Wolcott, Assistant Conservator, at rwolcott@amphilsoc.org

Director of Book Conservation (Andover, MA, USA) – updated

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is seeking an innovative and creative   conservation professional to lead its nationally-recognized book conservation laboratory. The successful candidate will be joining the NEDCC Senior Management team and will benefit from working in a collaborative atmosphere with digital imaging specialists and conservators in other specialties. The book conservation laboratory contributes a significant amount to NEDCC’s fiscal health with work from a broad spectrum of cultural institutions and private clients. Volumes conserved at NEDCC are varied and may include rare books and pamphlets, bound manuscripts and prints, and scrapbooks and albums. The Center has treated some of the nation’s most significant volumes, such as William Bradford’s manuscript history of the Plymouth Plantation; Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s journals of the Corps of Discovery Expedition; the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon; and Jacqueline Kennedy’s White House scrapbooks. See NEDCC Stories for other projects of note.

The Director of Book Conservation is responsible for:  Cultivating prospective clients; building relationships and conferring with clients nationwide to develop appropriate treatment proposals; performing collections assessments; leading a staff of professional book conservators who perform consultations, treatments, and collections assessments; setting and monitoring standards for quality and productivity; working closely with NEDCC’s other department heads on joint projects; and presenting at national conferences. In addition, the role of the Director of Book Conservation as a member of NEDCC’s senior management team includes hiring, strategic planning, policy development, and other NEDCC-wide initiatives that have a broad impact on the preservation of cultural heritage collections nationwide.


  • detailed knowledge of and hands-on experience in book conservation
  • strong oral and written communication skills
  • excellent relationship-building skills
  • a solid educational and/or practical foundation in book conservation
  • commitment to both the highest quality conservation treatment results and the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice
  • leadership and management skills to support a high-quality, efficient and productive work environment

Founded in 1973, NEDCC specializes in the conservation and digitization of paper-based materials and has recently expanded its services to include preservation of audio recordings. NEDCC’s mission is to improve the preservation efforts of libraries, archives, historical organizations, museums, and other repositories; to provide the highest quality conservation and reformatting services to collections-holding institutions; and to provide leadership in preservation, conservation, and digital reformatting. Its services include book, paper, and photograph conservation; digital reformatting (imaging and audio); assessments and consultations; disaster assistance; and workshops and conferences. NEDCC is located in Andover, MA, twenty-five miles north of Boston. For more information, please visit www.nedcc.org.

Application Process
NEDCC is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Salary and benefits are competitive. This position will remain open until filled. Feel free to direct any preliminary questions about the position to Bill Veillette. To apply, please send a cover letter and resume in a single PDF to Bill Veillette, Executive Director, bveillette@nedcc.org.

This job announcement has been updated on May 14, 2018.

Pre-program Internship with stipend (Charlottesville, VA, USA)

The University of Virginia Library is pleased to offer the opportunity of a six-week internship for the summer of 2018 in their Preservation Services Department, working with the two Book Conservators on staff.  The purpose of the internship is to perform conservation treatment on a selection of plates from the “Moon Atlas” http://search.lib.virginia.edu/catalog/u6821780 and also a possible rehousing project involving the Virginia Gazette http://search.lib.virginia.edu/catalog/u3514532.

The intern will develop treatment plans in collaboration with the Book Conservators and maintain the written documentation throughout the treatment process.  Likely flat paper treatments include dry cleaning; adhesive and pressure sensitive tape removal; paper mending; and humidification and flattening. Book treatments could include board tacketing and other binding stabilization techniques. Pre-treatment photo documentation will be performed by the Library’s Digital Services Department prior to the intern’s arrival. It is expected that the intern will participate in the after-treatment photo-doc at the end of the six week internship. The intern will be required to give a presentation to library staff at the end of the internship, describing the project overall and highlighting a few specific details from the treatments.

Treatment will be performed in the UVa Library Conservation lab, a small but well-equipped facility with a 4’x6’ treatment sink, de-ionized water system, fume trunk, suction platen, and the usual tools. The treatment will be performed under the supervision of the Book Conservators for Library Collections and in consultation with Librarians from the Small Special Collections Library.

The Library is offering a $4000 stipend to support the internship. The internship can be scheduled for any consecutive six-week period between June 11, 2018 and August 24, 2018 (the Fall semester at UVA begins August 28, 2018). We will be accepting applications until the position is filled but priority will be given to applications received prior to March 9, 2018. The ideal candidate will have some prior treatment experience and be working toward a career in library conservation.

Applicants should send a resume, letter of interest and the contact information for three professional references via email to Eliza Gilligan, Book Conservator for University Library Collections at emg3b@virginia.eduApplicants must be a US citizen.

The Preservation Services Department is grateful to Margery Lee for her continued support of this internship.

45th Annual Meeting- BPG Session, May 31, “The Codex Eyckensis (8th century). Re-evaluation of the 20th century restoration & conservation treatments by Lieve Watteeuw

Professor Lieve Watteeuw introduces her presentation with a description of the Codex Eyckensis, the subject of her talk. The Codex is comprised of two distinct gospels bound as one, most likely made at the scriptorium of Echternach in Luxembourg in the 8th century. A study in 1994 showed that both of the gospel manuscripts were made in the same scriptorium, and most likely by the same scribe. The manuscripts were held in the treasury of the Abbey of Aldeneik until they were transferred to the treasury of St. Catherine’s church in Maaseik in 1571 during a period of religious unrest. In 1596, a pilgrimage feast was arranged to honor the pilgrimage of the Codex and the other treasures from the Abbey of Aldeneik. Every 7 years thereafter, in tandem with the holy feasts of Aachen, the Codex would be on view, processed to its former home at Aldeneik.  The manuscripts were turned over to private ownership in the years following the French Revolution, until they were returned to Maaseik in 1871. From that date, the manuscripts were again part of processions, but only every 25 years.

from http://www.codexeyckensis.be/codex-eyckensis-the-unique-codex-of-eyke

It was observed in 1957 that the manuscripts were in very poor condition, so an attempt was made to preserve them. At the time, bookbinder Karl Sievers of Dusseldorf laminated the pages of the manuscript with Mipofolie, a polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In the late 1980s, Professor Watteeuw noticed that the leaves had suffered from this treatment. The PVC had turned yellow and had hardened, and it was decided to remove this damaging material.

The conservation treatment spanned from 1989-93. The removal of the mipofolie was accomplished using a technique developed in Budapest, which involved suction and a light table. Once the mipofolie had been removed, losses in the leaves were filled with parchment pulp. In removing the plastic foil, some pigment was removed as well. All of the mipofolie sheets were kept that had been removed from the Codex Eyckensis with the idea that they might be able to be used one day. At the time of this intervention, the curators decided to rebind the two distinct manuscripts separately using glue free bindings with deer skin covers over oak boards. The manuscripts were put on permanent display.

from http://www.codexeyckensis.be/codex-eyckensis-the-unique-codex-of-eyke

After years on permanent display, Professor Watteeuw was asked to perform a condition report of the Codex in 2008, and in 2016-17 she began the process of analyzing the manuscripts. Her studies showed that there was still residue of the PVC within the pores of the parchment. With the Hirox 3D microscope, parchment fibers from the leafcasting treatment could be seen overlapping into the pigment on the leaves as could Japanese paper fibers from paper mends. MA-XRF (macro x-ray fluorescence ) analysis demonstrated the presence of Cu, Fe, Pb, and Iron Gall Ink, suggesting important similarities to the pigments used in the Book of Kells. The MA-XRF also showed that the same palette was used for both of the manuscripts of the Codex Eyckensis. Watteeuw used photometric stereo to document the thickness of the paint layers along with their texture. Using the pigments peeled away from the manuscript leaves on the mipofolie foils, Watteeuw could analyze the pigments using Raman, essentially making the best of a bad situation set in motion when the mipofolie was applied in 1957.

All of this analysis gives information on the possibly very close connections between the manuscripts of the Low Countries to Anglo Saxon lands. During this analysis,  Professor Watteeuw also played a crucial role in digitizing the Codex, which is now available online.

Questions from the floor following the talk:

Q1: Were you able to ID the green pigments? Can you see corrosion? A1: yes we were able to see corrosion, but undetermined green pigment, since some green not corroded.

Q2: Was there treatment strategy of stabilizing copper green? A2: no consolidation in the 90s, but parchment pulp might not have been the best choice of fill material (could have made worse?) Watteeuw notes she is afraid to turn the pages because she can hear the PVC within the leaves.

Q3: Any underdrawing? A1: yes, underdrawing or “mise en place” of canon tables is visible

Q4: Is it on permanent display? A4: yes, was on permanent display at fixed page. Now it’s in the lab, but will eventually be on permanent display again, for which we are developing lighting scenarios.

What a great, informative talk! Thanks to Professor Watteeuw, and I look forward to seeing what more they discover about these incredibly important manuscripts!






Book Conservation Summer School Scholarship, Nicholas Hadgraft Memorial Scholarship

  • Application deadline: April 7, 2017

Re-creating the medieval palette, an Italian fifteenth century binding and a conservation variation for the Ethiopic binding are just some of the topics the winner of this year’s Nicholas Hadgraft Memorial Scholarship could be enjoying thanks to Conservation By Design Limited (CXD).

CXD invites conservators and skilled book binders to apply for the renowned scholarship for the 13th consecutive year. The winner will receive £1,500 towards the cost of attending the Montefiascone Book Conservation Summer School, a unique bookbinding & restauration course held each year in the medieval town of Montefiascone, Italy.

Running from the heart of the medieval town throughout the month August, each week, the summer school features a different specialized course and tutor, which this year includes; Cheryl Porter, Jim Bloxham, Shaun Thompson, Alison Ohta, Scott W. Devine, Marco Di Bella and Dr. Nikolas Sarris.

The scholarship is offered in memory of Dr. Nicholas Hadgraft, a good friend of Conservation By Design who died tragically in 2004. Nicholas was a fellow of the University of the Arts London and a key collaborator on the “Squelch Drying” technique devised by Stuart Welch (the founder of CXD), the most effective way to date of drying valuable rare books.

Application forms are now available from the CXD website: www.conservation-by-design.com.

Completed applications must be received by April 7, 2017, and the successful applicant will be notified by the end of April.

For further information on the Nicholas Hadgraft Memorial Scholarship, contact Conservation By Design on +44 01234 844 260 or visit www.conservation-by-design.co.uk.

Job Posting: Conservator (Book or Paper), US National Archives (College Park, MD, USA)

  • Application deadline: December 1, 2016.
  • Salary range (GS-11/12):  $64,650 to $100,736 per year
  • Applicants must be US citizens.

The US National Archives is seeking applicants skilled in Book or Paper Conservation to serve as a technical expert in the preservation of archival holdings. The Conservator will engage in National Archives conservation activities, examine and treat National Archives collections, apply and develop a range of housing and storage options, conduct training and make recommendations for preservation policies, programs and procedures.
This is a permanent position located in College Park, Maryland with a possible alternate work location in Washington, DC. Applicants may apply at the GS-11 and/or GS-12 levels.
For job and application information see the announcement at https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/PrintPreview/450086300 .
Federal employees may wish to apply as status candidates using the announcement at https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/455736200/.

AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting, Book and Paper Session, May 9 “The Conservation of the Jefferson Bible at the National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution”

The Conservation of the Jefferson Bible at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.  Janice Stagnitto Ellis, Senior Paper Conservator, and Emily S. Rainwater, Post Graduate Fellow, NMAH; Laura A. Bedford, Assistant Book Conservator, NEDCC.

The Jefferson Bible is an assemblage of texts from the New Testament created by Thomas Jefferson, and bound into a book by Frederick Mayo. Jefferson titled this work The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.  According to the presenters, it has been in heavy demand and exhibited frequently during its lifetime.

This project was a team effort between conservators and curators. Before beginning treatment,  the conservators in consultation with the curators, thoroughly analyzed  its condition, materials and sewing structure, and together developed a plan for treatment and materials testing. As  the folios were separated conservators and curators examined each one before it was professionally photographed, and together decided where paper repairs should occur.

The treatment goal was to not improve the appearance of the folios (through flattening, for example) or to change Jefferson’s work.  Aqueous treatment and humidification were deemed too risky. Treatment consisted of removal of the textblock from the binding, replacement of the stubs, page repair, resewing and replacement into the original binding. The original endbands and their tie-downs were retained.

It is to the Smithsonian’s (and the conservators’) credit that they were willing to share the treatment of this artifact. The Smithsonian produced a facsimile and documentary, both for sale from the Smithsonian Store, and digital images are available online. An exhibition was installed in 2011, and the conservators allowed tours of the lab while work continued.

The UVA magazine has an illustrated description of the treatment: http://uvamagazine.org/features/article/jefferson_bible

The presentation also included a description of the conservation of 2 of the source books for Jefferson’s work. It was exciting to learn more about the life-cycle of this unique work.


AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting, Book and Paper Session, May 9 “Exploring New Frontiers: Outreach and collaboration across institutional boundaries with the treatment of De Brys’ Collection of Voyages”

Exploring New Frontiers: Outreach and Collaboration across Institutional Boundaries with the Treatment of de Brys’ Collection of Voyages. Erin Hammeke, Conservator for Special Collections, Duke University Libraries.

This presentation addressed the challenge often faced by book conservators: do we treat the item for maximum use by scholars even if that means some of the components of the current binding might be lost; or, do we retain everything that’s “original” even if some of these components might be harming the text? The conservation staff and their curatorial partners at Duke chose the first option in the treatment of 3 volumes of de Brys’ Voyages. These volumes were pulled, washed, resewn on tapes for maximum opening, and rebound in full calf bindings. The half leather bindings on 2 of the volumes were removed and stored in the new clamshell boxes constructed for each volume.

This treatment provided an opportunity to not only maximize the durability of these bindings for use by scholars, but to also make digital copies of the text, thereby making these materials even more accessible.
I have to question the decision made by the conservation and curatorial team involving an incomplete map in one of the volumes. Although a complete copy of the map was obtained from UNC and used for the placement of a fragment found tucked into the volume, the missing area was left blank. Since the goal was to make the volumes useful to scholars, why not take this opportunity to make the volume complete? This question was posed during the question and answer portion of the presentation, and the answer seemed to relate to the size or “newness” of the replacement portion. It seems to me that there were several options here. Since the book was resewn, the copy of the map could have been inserted after the original, incomplete map. Or, it could have been included with the other material in the clamshell box. The digital copy could have at least been made complete, with a note to that effect somewhere in the restored volume (perhaps it was).
The conservation of the de Brys’ Voyages coincided with a symposium of de Brys scholars that was held at Duke. The conservator (Ms. Hammeke) made the most of this opportunity by meeting with the scholars and discussing her treatment with them. She also enhanced her treatment documentation with short videos.

Generally, the information contained deep in the binding that is discovered by conservators remains hidden from scholars and curators, but this project is an excellent model of how collaboration between conservators, curators, and scholars can allow that knowledge to be shared.