The article presents a method of preserving library materials during the refurbishment of the storage space. This method was developed and implemented during the first and most important stage of the modernization of the National Library’s space for storing of library collections. The author discusses subsequent phases of the process that had taken 9 years covering a surface of over 17,000 m2 and effectively led to achieving proper conditions of storing and preserving the collections. During the modernization the collections were always protected against damage from the process and were partially made inaccessible to users. It is worth stressing that the modernization schedule was prepared in co-operation with the contractors in order to make a large part of the materials available to readers who needed access to them. The author emphasizes the importance of a good co-operation of different organizational units of the National Library that deal with storing collections, administration, planning and supervising construction works with the contractors.
In the last few years the institutions of the National Archive Network in Poland have visibly changed their strategic aims and emphasized the release and sharing of the National Archival Fonds. These new objectives have given new tasks to the various specialist working with the archives. The use of new social communication tools has prompted the introduction of novel solutions and digital technologies for storing documents and making them available. Subsequently, the role of archive conservators has been modified; their duties have become more universal to include preventive conservation and advanced methods applied throughout the archive. Conservators take part in preliminary work that consists in determining the preservation state of documentation files stored in the institution that are supervised, and then they participate in their inclusion into the archive. They help popularize the collections by preparing the originals of the documents to be lent out to external institutions and to be exhibited within the archive. They are also greatly involved in the mass digitization performed in the national archives as they prepare the documents to the process. They are assisted by the Mass Conservation Laboratories in the four state archives where the revitalization process runs much faster than individual conservation of documents. It is also a comprehensive way of protecting documents after mass conservation and digitization that are newly packed and transferred to the archive storage rooms. Furthermore, archival conservators offer professional training in the collections protection both to the institutions that are subject to archival supervision and to private individuals. The new challenges that the protectors of the National Archival Fonds have to face, as required by the society of today, are a test of strength for specialists in protection and conservation of collections.
The article discusses the discrepancy between the light exposure time for objects during exhibitions and the values found in the literature and believed to be the maximum permitted yearly exposure time. The author analyzes the state
of the art, lists the duration of exhibitions in 2016 (for the objects lent from the National Library for external exhibitions), quotes available sources and recommendations, including those by the IFLA and the International Council on Archives. The author indicates the insufficiency of data on the influence of visible light exposure on the objects and provides a list of object types that may or should be classified as particularly light sensitive, that is of a yearly exposure that ought not to exceed 12,000 lux hours. The article assesses the use of MFT (microfadometry) on original historical objects, from the perspective of preservation and restoration also in its ethical aspects. Finally, the author provides the requirements for light exposure of particularly light-sensitive objects and proposes a scenario and solutions for exhibitions whose duration exceeds the maximum yearly light exposure time for an object.
In the years 2012–2014 the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, carried out the conservation-restoration of one of artistically valuable herbaria prepared by Eliza Orzeszkowa and preserved in the National Museum of Warsaw. The untypical nature of the object results, among others, from the variety of materials it is made of, such as dried plants, and proved to be a challenge for conservators. Before the treatment began, the object was examined in order to determine a proper method of protecting the dried plants and to see if the deacidification of the paper would damage the them. The methods developed during the experiments were used during the conservation of the object.
The article presents the results of an investigation of the effectiveness of the BIO-MASTER Korean etheric oils fumigation system installed in the Vilnius University Library. The research was performed using the following test papers: Whatman paper, Whatman paper covered with 2% gelatine, and Xerox printer paper with a density of 80 g/m2. The samples were infected with mould monocultures diluted 1/10, 1/100 and 1/1000, using Penicillium funiculosum, Penicillium ochraceum, Aspergillus Niger, Aspergillus versicolor, and Botryotrichum piluliferum in a way that makes it possible to determine the quantity of units in samples. Fumigation systems were tested with the use of the 1/1000 dilution. The samples were transported to Vilnius and fumigated in a single series (20 hours of exposure) and a double series (40 hours of exposure). The samples were disinfected in sterile paper envelopes (wound up but not hermetic) that protected against infections but could also limit the penetration by the fumigant. After disinfection the samples were transferred onto MEA medium, incubated for 14 days (at room temperature), and subsequently assessed for the growth of the colonies (counted) and compared with control samples (infected likewise but not disinfected). In the conditions used in the experiment the system proved completely ineffective.
Before digitization, many objects need to be properly preserved in order to avoid mechanical damages that can occur during the scanning process. Objects such as photo prints, photo albums or glass-plate negatives require individual conservation approach. The complex structure of the historical photographic materials makes the conservation design and treatment very difficult. Conservation materials and treatments that are chosen improperly can have a destructive impact on the object and can cause irreversible damages. The main goal of this article is to present the conservation methods that are used in for historic photographic prints, albums and glass-plate negatives. Only a highly experienced professional academically trained in the conservation of paper and photographic materials should conduct conservation treatment of such objects.
The album was made and the photographs were taken in Japan at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, probably in the “Kimbei Photo Studio” in Yokohama run by Kimbei until 1914. During historical research at the Museum of History of Photography the authors of most of the pictures were determined. These were: Kusakabe Kimbei, Ogawa Kazumasa, Tamamura Kozaburo, Adolfo Farsari, Ueno Hikome. From 1989 on the album has been part of the collection of the Museum of History of Photography, Cracow (inv. no. MHF 5982/II/1-88). In the years 2005 and 2006 the album was treated in the Laboratory of Preservation of the Museum of History of Photography in Cracow under the supervision of Krzysztof Dudek, MA, specialist in art preservation and restoration. The photographs are albumin prints hand-tinted with aniline. The substrate of the “emulsion” is paper made of linen and wool. The photographs are glued on both sides of cardboard sheets and joined in pairs. All of them are sewn together with linen threads do three canvass bands. Both on the front and on the back of the block decorative there are double printed endpapers. The binding of the album, whose preservation state before the restoration was very poor, is made of two wooden covers and dark-claret leather on the spine. On the outer surface of the covers is found a painted and lacquered decoration with floral motifs. The front cover has a concave “window” with vegetal and animal motifs originally made of ivory and mother-of-pearl against a smooth black background. The article discusses the treatment aimed at restoring the full esthetic quality of the album and at preserving it against mechanical damage.
In September 2017, on the 210th anniversary of Napoleon Orda’s birthday, the National Art Museum of Belarus in Minsk hosted a monographic exhibition of his drawings and watercolours from the collections of the National Museum in Cracow. This collection includes over one thousand watercolours and drawings of Napoleon Orda gathered in several cases of the Album widoków historycznych Polski, poświęcony Rodakom [Album of historical vedute of Poland, dedicated to Compatriots] after being transposed using lithography in the atelier of Maksymilian Fajans, Warsaw, 1873–1883. The lithographs were executed by Alojzy Misierowicz. During the preparation of the exhibition, 110 chosen objects were treated at the Paper and Leather Conservation Laboratory of the National Museum in Cracow. Preliminary treatment and documentation of the preservation state of the objects revealed untypical, particular methods the author used to obtain a sort of relief texture. He made creases or rather folds in the paper substrate that might have aimed at increasing the spatial effect or to add profundity to the architecture depicted. It is not known why and how Orda confined the paper folding effect to a specific fragment of a chosen architectural motif. The exhibition in Minsk prompted new research on Orda’s paintings. The identification of the places depicted was confirmed, while the conservation and preservation treatment revealed untypical artistic practices unprecedented in other authors’ works. The discovery of these particularities sheds new light on Orda’s life and art; moreover, it provides the conservators with valuable experience stressing the importance of careful observation of the object and of minimalizing the interference in it so as to preserve its previously unnoticed aspects.
The years 2017–2020 will see the implementation of the “Patrimonium” project: digitization and release of the Polish national heritage from the collections of the Jagiellonian Library and the National Library of Poland. The digitization will cover over one million items from both institutions, of which 2/3 will come from the latter. Since the beginning of the planned project the specialists from the Mass Conservation Laboratory, Institute of Preservation of Library Collections, National Library, have been aware of the fact that 90% of the materials to be scanned are machine-made paper and their conservation will be carried out by the Laboratory. The Laboratory carries out preservation treatment of library materials according to the conservators’ ethics and following current preservation standards. Although the items that are treated in the Laboratory date back to the 19th and 20th centuries, they have the highest protection status. The work with them includes traditional methods with the use of reversible procedures, whenever permitted by the preservation state of the object. In 2017 the “Patrimonium” project required the preservation of as many as 5,047 items, including over 3,600 objects from the Division of Ephemera and over 400 maps. It is worth stressing that the scanning of most large-format objects made of acid paper was not possible until it was purified, deacidified and, above all, integrated and straightened under pressure.
The author discusses the aim and implementation of the project called “Patrimonium – the digitalization and release of Polish national heritage from the collections of the National and Jagiellonian libraries” that has been underway since 2017 and will take three years. Its objective is to make digital copies of almost 650 thousand objects from the collections of the National Library of Poland, of which many belong to special collections: ca. 10 thousand early printed books, 30 iconographic objects and ca. 5 thousand manuscripts. The digitization covers valuable library materials made in the last 900 years, from the Middle Ages to the present day, on different media: parchment, handmade paper, various types of machine-made paper, blotting paper, carbon paper and others. They include different techniques: manuscripts written with ink, pencil, crayons, ballpoint pen), typescripts, printed matter, engravings, drawings, photographs. These objects also vary in the preservation state of their medium, binding, writing techniques, illuminations, resulting from the availability of the objects to users and to damage related to historical events. The “Patrimonium” project gives new life to many objects by bringing them out from storerooms and releasing their digital versions to the readers. This laudable idea is a great challenge for the conservators from the Library Collections Conservation Institute (National Library of Poland). It was planned that from the very beginning the conservation of special collections would be carried out in co-operation with the conservators from the Institute to ensure safety of the objects throughout the digitization process. All of the digitized objects will be made available online via the POLONA Digital Library.