Come join us as we celebrate Preservation Week with a lecture by Quinn Ferris, our graduate intern from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center. Bring your lunch and we’ll supply some sweet treats!
Balancing Access and Authenticity: Preservation at University of Virginia’s Access-Focused Special Collections Library
Quinn Morgan Ferris
Conservation Intern, University of Virginia Library
Friday, May 1, 2015
Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture
Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
At the University of Virginia, the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library administers approximately 17 million manuscripts and archival records, as well as rare books, maps, photographs, audio visual materials and ephemera—accessible to the public and used by faculty, students, and staff. Occasional and semester-long classes integrate rare material, and the extended building hours and minimal access restrictions ensure that both students and outside researchers alike are able to make the best use of these uncommon artifacts. In fact, access is so central to the collection that the acquisition policy discourages purchase of materials if handling restrictions need to be imposed for use.
But how do we encourage access/use through handling while also safeguarding the continuing life of the artifact? U.Va. Library’s multi-faceted approach to preservation helps to support the continued care and access of these materials both within Special Collections and beyond. This talk will discuss the activity of the preservation department, as well as consider questions that drive preservation decision-making. How do we avoid restoring function at the cost of bibliographic and historical evidence that is crucial to these study objects? When is minimal treatment—or no treatment at all—preferable to complete restoration? Using the case study of a recent treatment, we consider how to craft balanced methodologies using varied approaches with long-term preservation in mind, yet driven by the context of an access-focused academic institution.