As a complement to the current Vinyl Videos: The Rise and Fall of the RCA Videodisc exhibit – and check back soon for an update about the show! – The Sarnoff Collection and the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts recently co-hosted two hands-on workshops focused on preserving family heirlooms and documents.
Inspired by the extensive Dr. Jay Brandinger family archive donated to the Sarnoff that inspired the Vinyl Videos exhibit, and working extensively with the CCAHA, we held two sessions that each gave an overview of, and then delved deep into, the whys and the hows of protecting precious two- and three-dimensional objects. At each event, the CCAHA’s Stephenie Bailey introduced guests to the theoretical and practical considerations that responsible institutional and individual collectors bear in mind before getting down to it with knives, straightedges, bone folders, archival board, conservation-quality plastic sleeves, and a good few tricks and tips.
Guests worked to fashion enclosures for items they brought with them or that Bailey provided. Several Sarnoff staff also followed along, learning correct procedures so that selected objects from the permanent collection – our favorite for this task so far being the 1957 RCA staff manual – can be housed in a protective but also accessible manner. Periods of intense focus were punctuated by stretches of lively conversation about the day’s lessons and – quite poignantly, in several cases – about the great personal significance of the objects in question.
The CCAAHC is a terrific resource for individuals and organizations seeking input in how to plan and carry out conservation projects large and small; we encourage readers to contact this Philadelphia-based via their website ccaha.org.
The Sarnoff is ramping up work properly re-housing permanent collection artifacts in the course of ongoing database and collection storage.