As part of the Enhanced Conservation Work Experience (ECWE), the New-York Historical Society Library Conservation Lab is hosting Katarzyna Bator as a third-year conservation fellow funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Ms. Bator is completing her conservation studies at the Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College. Prior to her time in Buffalo, Katarzyna received paper and book conservation training at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library and Museum, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the New-York Historical Society. Katarzyna is thrilled to return to the N-YHS Library Conservation Lab after completing the formal portion of her education in Buffalo.
The goal of this year-long fellowship is to provide Katarzyna with comprehensive real work experience at a busy conservation lab by challenging her with everyday tasks as well as large scale and long term collections care projects. One such long term projects is a Library Collections Condition Survey (LCCS). The focus of the survey is assessing current storage conditions of oversized and unusual formats found in the library collections. These include bound and unbound newspapers and atlases (some as tall as four feet), manuscripts, printing blocks, as well as various photo and print formats. The survey is a great opportunity to work out complex storage and housing issues for a variety of materials such as glass, wood, metal, and of course paper. The mere size and weight of many of the items poses conservation and storage challenges that Katarzyna will have the opportunity to propose solutions to.
In addition to the survey, Katarzyna participates in everyday tasks and item level conservation assignments. She recently treated a nineteenth-century sketchbook by an artist known as Master Kennedy (N-YHS Museum accession no. 1960.103.)
The sketchbook is composed of thick drawing paper and glassine to prevent image transfer and smudging. The pages were sewn together along with a simple paper wrapper to which a decorative blue paper was adhered. The cover paper has torn along the sewn edge and the sewing thread broke over time. The treatment included mending of the cover and resewing the pages using the same three whole butterfly stitch as was originally used to keep the sketchbook together. Abrasions and tears on the decorative blue paper were in-painted using watercolors.
This post is by Alan Balicki, Chief Conservator.