ArH Internship: History I Helped Preserve Today

Hey, art lovers!

This is a blog post for my internship working at the art museum.

But first, a brief history of how I got there:

Early last summer, I was volunteering at the art museum at the Rental Sales Gallery. I was also interning with Robert Krueger at the the time as well. I received a very exciting email from someone I admire very much: Samantha Springer, the art conservator at the art museum!

Samantha was probably my first real contact into the art conservation field. I interviewed her for a paper I wrote a couple years ago, and now, I currently help her preserve materials.

My job is a simple, but no less important one.

One thing I wish I thought of that I didn’t have today was making some videos on the process. Next week, I’m going to remember to bring my tiny tripod and make videos on creating these protective coverings.

Some words on the science

When making coverings for historic print pieces such as books, photos, or lithographs, it’s important to use an archival paper of some kind. Gaylord Archival supplies acid free paper materials. If archival paper is not used for preserving these pieces, then any acid or other such chemicals used in paper manufacturing can react with the art pieces in a negative way.

A great way to test if the paper you want to use is archival or not is by using a special pen specifically used for testing the pH of paper. The pen that we used was purple and changed to yellow when we marked a test envelope we made for a large print piece in hopes that it would be appropriate to use for archiving. The fact that it changed yellow meant that the paper was unsafe to use.


Some History I Helped Preserve

The Loyal Retainers of the Ako Domain by Torii Kotondo

UPDATE: This week, I asked for the information on the Japanese prints. There wasn’t a lot of information on them, unfortunately, but we now know that these were prints made in 1939. They are photo-lithographs. They were placed in the Museum’s “Study Collection” meaning that the prints themselves were never meant to be put on display, but they were used for people with academic credentials to come in and study. Though my supervisor informed me that sometimes materials would be placed in the “Study Collection” if they were miscellanious and more difficult to classify. She suspects this was probably the case with these materials given how little information we have on it.

Here are a few prints from the book:


I’ve been working on a box for a series of Japanese prints. The covering is in relatively poor condition, but the prints inside are absolutely stunning.


I forgot to get the information on where in Japan and what time they were made, but I’ll have this information next week.


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