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Vol. LXII, No. 13
June 25, 2010
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NLM Hosts ‘Preservation Week’

Dr. Michéle Hindi-Alexander (r) brought in an ornate outfit worn by her mother, who won the 1935 Miss Universe contest. Holding the dress is Atalanta Grant-Suttie (l), a librarian in NLM’s History of Medicine Division; handling the scarf is Holly Herro of the library’s collection management unit. “The items people were bringing in were just amazing,” said NLM’s Walter Cybulski. “To see these kinds of treasures is really exciting.” Planning has already begun for next year’s May event.

Above: Dr. Michéle Hindi-Alexander (r) brought in an ornate outfit worn by her mother, who won the 1935 Miss Universe contest. Holding the dress is Atalanta Grant-Suttie (l), a librarian in NLM’s History of Medicine Division; handling the scarf is Holly Herro of the library’s collection management unit. “The items people were bringing in were just amazing,” said NLM’s Walter Cybulski. “To see these kinds of treasures is really exciting.” Planning has already begun for next year’s May event.

Below: Herro (l), reviews old photographs brought to Preservation Week by NCBI’s Jane Davenport. At right, Grant-Suttie demonstrates the workings of a book binding tool.

Herro, reviews old photographs brought to Preservation Week by NCBI’s Jane Davenport. Grant-Suttie demonstrates the workings of a book binding tool.
 

The National Library of Medicine celebrated the first annual Preservation Week recently, sharing examples of its collection and inviting visitors to bring their own family treasures.

NLM was one of dozens of libraries all over the country whose librarians offered conservation and archiving advice and marveled at items brought out of closets and attics. Kristi Wright Davenport, Atalanta Grant-Suttie, Holly Herro, Walter Cybulski and several other members of NLM’s staff demonstrated the proper techniques for storing and displaying photographs and manuscripts, displayed a book-binding tool, offered instructions for how to properly preserve videos and other recordings and warned against storing irreplaceable items inside papers and plastics containing acids or chemicals. Wooden boxes, such as cedar chests, are also a no-no.

“That’s bad,” Herro said, in response to one visitor who asked about an afghan from his grandmother that he kept in a hope chest. “The wood off-gases [emits] formaldehyde.”

Herro and her colleagues urged those with valuable items to invest in acid-free storage boxes, inert plastic sleeves and pH-neutral paper as ways to keep their keepsakes safe for years to come. Many of these preservation items can be found in neighborhood craft stores.

Among the spectacular items brought in by visitors was an old American flag bearing only 35 stars and an ornate outfit worn by the 1935 Miss Universe, who went on to become the mother of NICHD’s Dr. Michéle Hindi-Alexander. —

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