The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 4-5
Aug-Sep 1994

Queries from the Cons DistList

Q: The San Diego Natural History Museum has hired an architect, as the building extension planned in 1933 takes another step toward reality. The new building addition will be designated for all nonpublic functions (collections, research, conservation, administration, etc.) and the old building will be upgraded to show off its really attractive features in exhibits and public programs.

Our architect is very familiar with this museum and our needs, but not with other museums or with the problems of museum design in general. I will have some influence (so I was told) in the design. What I need for him is either or both of the following, listed in order of preference:

  1. Specific museums, libraries, or other collections-based institutions which, in your judgement, are examples of GOOD architectural design (i.e. that do the job and make it possible for the staff to do theirs). We would like to set up a study tour of the best and brightest buildings, no limits on year of construction. Concerns include provisions for health and safety, access, collections protection, work spaces, and (for us) seismic considerations as well as security.
  2. (Because I know there's no way out of it) specific institutions as above which in your judgement exemplify the worst in design, concept, and/or realization. We will not set up a study tour of these, nor will I divulge names or other identifying information to anyone, but it might be useful to know what doesn't work as well as what does.
Sally Shelton
Collections Conservation Specialist
San Diego Natural History Museum
Tel: 619/232-3821

Q: ASTM Subcommittee D14.07 on Labels for Library and Archives Use is meeting in Dearborn, Michigan, in early October. The Subcommittee needs information on what labels are in current use by institutions, what properties these labels are expected to have, and if specifications for labels have been written for large procurements. The first standard is for paper-based pressure-sensitive labels to be used on archival housings and non-rare general collections books. As the draft now stands, we have defined the paper-based label life expectancy as 75-100 years based on the performance of the paper and the adhesive. The paper meets the ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 permanent paper standard, and the adhesive will most likely be an acrylic water-dispersed copolymer. Discussion on bar-coded labels is also underway, but they will probably have their own standard. Anyone who wants to join the Subcommittee may do so by contacting Bode Buckley at ASTM [215/299-5400]. Please direct your answers and/or comments to me. Thank you.

Elissa O'Loughlin
National Archives
Tel: 202/501-5360

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