Collection Care blog

3 posts from October 2015

23 October 2015

Magna Carta Conservation Team at the ICON Awards

The British Library conservation team that worked on the Magna Carta project attended a glamorous awards ceremony at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers last night. The team were shortlisted for the Institute of Conservation (ICONAnna Plowden Trust Award for Research and Innovation, which went to Tate for their impressive Rothko Conservation Project. A huge congratulations to the Tate team and to the Imperial War Museum who were also in our category for their amazing space vacuums, air bazookas and duster drones project in the War Against Dust.

Four members of the Magna Carta conservation team stand to have their picture taken; they are standing in front of a dark wood wall.
Left to right: Cordelia Rogerson, Christina Duffy, Gavin Moorhead, Julian Harrison

The Magna Carta Project was a collaborative process of sophisticated research and innovation that enabled a pragmatic solution for rehousing and displaying an iconic document. Our biggest challenge was overcoming long held preconceptions and expectations that a high profile artefact required an expensive high-tech approach. You can read more about our work here.

Flyers for the Icon Conservation Awards rest on a table. They list information about the event such as date, time, and location.

It has been a great privilege to work with Magna Carta and the curatorial team in the build up to the British Library's most successful exhibition Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy.

Many thanks to all colleagues across the British Library and other institutions who helped progress the project into something we are all very proud of. Thanks to ICON and their sponsors Beko for organising a terrific night celebrating an incredible range of conservation work going on around the UK.

Congratulations to all the entrants, shortlistees and winners!

Christina Duffy

21 October 2015

Parchment Internship at the British Library

Intern, Parchment Research & Conservation, British Library
British Library job reference 00476
11 month Internship, 36 hours a week (full time), London

The British Library is pleased to offer a funded Internship, concentrating on parchment research and conservation. The internship is funded by the Clothworkers Foundation. The internship will run between November 2015 and October 2016. This opportunity is available to conservators who have graduated in the last 2 years, have limited work experience in conservation, and who wish to develop their research and practical, hands-on conservation skills. The successful candidates will have a book or paper conservation qualification(s) (an MA in conservation would be desirable).

The internship has a bursary of £19,000 with a £2,000 bursary for training and associated travel costs. The bursary will be paid on a monthly basis (subject to tax and NI). The internships are open to those who have the right to live and work in the UK.

A piece of parchment with texts rests on a neutral background. The raking light shows off the folds and undulations of the item.
Parchment under raking light (Add MS 33597)

The intern will spend approximately half their time working on one or two parchment research projects, supervised by a Conservation Scientist. The projects will be agreed and defined with the aim of practical outcomes for parchment assessments or treatments. The remaining half of the internship will involve developing and implementing a range of treatment options for individual items or a small collection of items. This may include remedial treatment, collection surveys and environmental monitoring. Treatment reports will be written at the end of each treatment project. Projects will be based on material that has been scheduled into the 2015 –16 work programme.

The intern will be expected to use a project management framework and monitor their progress against their work plan. At the end of the internship, the intern will give a presentation of the work completed. Please note that the intern will be supervised by a British Library Scientist and a conservator throughout their internship and work will be monitored on a regular basis. British Library Conservation has some suggestions for parchment research projects and additional ideas are welcomed.

A closeup of a parchment scroll featuring text plus drawings on the left hand side: a hand grabbing a lock of hair and a man's face.
A parchment scroll (Add MS 32006)


Please apply online via the British Library website: http://www.bl.uk/careers/index.html

In addition to the application form online, you also need to provide two or three examples of treatment records from your portfolio for items you have worked on. This evidence only must be emailed separately to Cordelia.Rogerson@bl.uk by the vacancy closing date. Include your name and the vacancy reference number in the email (00476).

Closing date 8 November 2015. Please note that applications received after this date will not be considered. Interviews will be held the week commencing 23 November and 30 November.

Dr Cordelia Rogerson
Head of Conservation

15 October 2015

Making connections – a speed meeting with The National Archives

Although conservators tend to work behind secure doors in studios and labs - we do like to get out occasionally. This morning a group of colleagues from Conservation at the British Library (BL) met with our counterparts at The National Archives (TNA) to hold a speed networking event. The aim was to meet face to face and make better connections to share expertise, skills and ideas.

A group of 23 conservators smile for the camera while sitting and standing around a table in a meeting room.

Five minutes was allowed to talk to a colleague from the other institution, before moving on to the next person - and so on. This generated focussed discussion and the ability to meet a significant number of people in a short space of time.

Themes identified for future collaboration and knowledge sharing included key performance indicators and reporting, analytical imaging techniques, managing digitisation, sharing skills and collaborating on preventive projects, and how approaches to conservation treatment differ. There are many similarities between the two institutions but also differences. For example, both institutions have both planned and reactive ways of treating objects to ensure preservation and access, TNA use volunteers whilst BL does not, BL has an annual work programme whilst TNA works quarterly.

The group look toward one speaker who is talking while standing next to a wall with sticky notes attached.

The event fostered open and supportive discussion and is a cooperative example of how to make the most of resources and expertise within the heritage profession. Particularly given the current straitened times. With many thanks to Nancy Bell, Juergen Vervoorst and their team for hosting the event.

Cordelia Rogerson, Head of Conservation