The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 22, Number 5


RAP Merges with ARCC

Two associations of regional conservation centers, the Regional Alliance for Preservation and the Association of Regional Conservation Centers, merged on October 20. This brings together the five centers in RAP (like the Northeast Document Conservation Center) that have been serving principally libraries and archives with the nine in ARCC (like the Williamstown Art Conservation Center) that have been serving principally museums.

The individual centers will now be able to provide a greater variety of informational and educational materials, over a wider geographical area. Field services of the fourteen centers can work more closely and share resources.

The ARCC was founded in 1986 as a forum for the directors of 12 nonprofit conservation centers to meet on business and management issues. The RAP was founded in 1997 as a project of five NEH-funded centers to share preservation training resources. Three centers (CCAHA, NEDCC and the Upper Midwest Conservation Association) belong to both organizations.

NEH Grants for Preservation in 1998

The National Endowment for the Humanities gave its largest grants in 1998 for education and training, research and demonstration, regional preservation services, and microfilming of brittle books, serials and newspapers. None of these grants was as large as $1,000,000, but a few came close. The grants for the U.S. Newspaper Program also covered cataloging of the titles filmed.

Smaller grants ($80,000 to $227,000) went to archives and special collections projects, most of which included cataloging along with one or more other operations.

Five museums received grants for rehousing, relocation or reorganization of objects, and purchase of storage systems.

Thirteen grants funded a variety of projects to prepare reference materials, including a dictionary of Sumerian and a project to enter 10,000 database records into the English Short Title Catalog.

The grants for education and training went to AMIGOS, the Campbell Center (this was the largest award in this category), NYU, NEDCC (for the School for Scanning conference and three yearly workshops on To Film or To Scan), SUNY Buffalo, University of Delaware and the University of Texas at Austin.

Campbell Center Courses

Beginning, advanced and refresher courses are offered from June to October at the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies (203 E. Seminary, Mt. Carroll, IL 61053, 815/244-1173, fax 244-1619). Most of them are two to four days in length, and the course fee varies from $240 to $560, which includes accommodation. Ten-day advanced courses on "Materials, Examination & Documentation" cost $1500 with accommodation.

Most of the courses have to do with historic preservation and museum objects, but at least eight look interesting for library and archive conservators:

Identification, Preservation, & Mgmt of Architectural Records - T.R. Nelb, Aug. 19-21
Preservation of Archival Collections - H. Kaplan, Aug. 25-28
Care of Oversize Paper Artifacts - M.T. Glaser, Sept. 13-15
Care of Book Collections - B.P. Eldridge, Sept. 23-25
Collections Maintenance (Book Repair) - G. Frost, Aug. 25-28
Preservation of Plastics - J. Fenn, Sept. 15-18
Pulp Repair of Tears & Losses - W. Crusius, Sept. 15-18
Japanese Prints - B. Fiske & A. Rosenthal, Oct. 14-16

Audio Archivists Parley with Manufacturers

Last April, ten representatives of audio collections met with five representatives of analog magnetic tape machine manufacturers at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, to plan an orderly withdrawal of support for the quarter-inch tape format. UNESCO also had a representative at the meeting. The consultation was organized by the Technical Committee of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) in conjunction with the Information, Informatics and Communications sector of UNESCO.

The archives would like to have an extended period of support for the quarter-inch format, to enable them to migrate their collections of audio recordings to new formats. The manufacturers want to see a reasonable commercial return for their contribution to the task.

They agreed on five points, including 1) The manufacturers will tell IASA about models currently in production, and their likely production life; 2) Manufacturers will give advance warning when a model is about to cease production, so that IASA members can place orders for it; and 3) Manufacturers will tell IASA how long spare parts will be available for obsolete machines.

Paper Splitting in Program at D.C. Meeting

The Washington Conservation Guild has a "Three Ring Circus" for its midwinter meeting, with three simultaneous programs. One of them is usually (always?) on paper. This year, Judy Walsh spoke on the paper sample collection at the National Gallery of Art; Frank Mowery brought in some paper splitting samples done for the Library of Congress and showed a German documentary on paper splitting.

Program Announced for NARA Conference

"Alternative Archival Facilities" is the title of the 14th annual National Archives and Records Administration Conference which, like all the rest, is only one day long but nevertheless worth coming a long distance to attend because the speakers are chosen for their expertise on the given topic. This one will be on March 25, a Thursday. The speakers and their papers are:

Paul Banks (consultant) - An Overview of Alternative Space Options for Libraries and Archives
Richard Judson (of NARA Space and Security Management) - New NARA Facilities Standards [for permanent records storage]
Doris Hamburg and Steven Herman (of L.C.) - High-Density, Cool Temperature Storage at the Library of Congress
Tom Benjamin (of National Underground Storage) - Adaptation of Underground Space
Ernest Conrad (of Landmark Facilities Group) - Working with What You Have--Existing Facilities
Robin Siegel (conservator at National Geographic) - Building a Small Cold Storage Vault [within an existing structure]
Mark McCormick-Goodhart (V.P., Old Town Editions, Inc.) - The Cold Storage of Photographic Collections Using Conventional Freezer Technology
Tom Goonan (Pres., Tom Goonan Associates) - Special Challenges--Fire and Fire Suppression

$10,000 Worth of Supplies Donated to Cuban Conservators

Jeanne Drewes, Head of the Preservation Department at the Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins, met over a year ago with the director of the Cuban National Archives and, learning of Cuban conservators' desperate need for supplies, solicited donations from organizations and individuals. Nearly $10,000 worth of conservation materials for Cuban libraries and archives were shipped early in December. This donation was mentioned in a story in the Los Angeles Times for December 21.

Barcham Green Moving from Hayle Mill; Big Sale

Simon Green, former hand papermaker and one-time chairman of the Institute of Paper Conservation, is codirector, with his wife Maureen, of the affairs of the hand paper mill--its property and remaining stock, in Maidstone, Kent--and has been having papers made to order by other mills for its old customers. (Many of the papers are useful in conservation and preservation.) The Hayle Mill Newsletter #21 for January 1999 announces a big sale of handmade paper:

1999 will be a big year for us because after 190 years at Hayle Mill, we plan to move in the next few months. This is going to involve a lot of work.... To minimize the amount of stock that we have to move, we are having a sale on all orders placed and paid for by 31 March 1999. You can access our stock lists and other information at our Web Site <> or send us a stamped addressed envelope indicating what you are interested in. It's been a real struggle getting the Web Site to work so it may not be always up to date. Check current stocks with us by fax, e-mail <> or by phone. Prices shown in printed lists and on the Web are gross from which the following discounts will be deducted.

10% off all orders that do not qualify for a larger discount
15% for clearing all stock of any one item
17.5% for clearing all stock of 3-4 items (and so forth, up to 25% for clearing all stock of 15 items or more).

An item, he says, may be a specific batch of paper or felts but could also include a pair of moulds (there are about 100 pairs of moulds, many with watermarks). After the move, prices will go up again.

Simon and Maureen are looking for a good home for the Hayle Mill archives, which go back to 1808.

The mill's telephone number is 44 1622-692266, and the fax is 1622-756381. The address is Hayle Mill, Maidstone, Kent, England ME15 6XQ.

Grants for the Grant-givers

Congress appropriated $30 million for the Department of the Interior for its FY 1999 Save America's Treasures program. It stipulated that certain amounts were to go to preservation of the Star Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian, completion of the conservation on the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, and restoration of the house on Capitol Hill where the National Woman's Party was founded; and the remaining $26.5 million were to go to 25 federal agencies for preservation grants. Those agencies are:

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Land Management
Commission of Fine Arts (Washington, DC)
Department of Energy
Holocaust Memorial Commission
Indian Health Service
Institute of American Indian & Alaska Native Culture & Arts Development
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Minerals Management Service
National Archives and Records Administration
National Capital Planning Commission
National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Humanities
National Gallery of Art
National Park Service
Office of Navajo & Hopi Relocation
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement
Presidio Trust
Smithsonian Institution
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Geological Survey
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

But the money does not automatically go to them. They have to apply for it. The announcement from Heritage Preservation says, in part,

What is Funded

Funds are available for preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and nationally significant historic structures and sites. Intellectual and cultural artifacts include artifacts, collections, documents ... and works of art (hereinafter collections).

What is not Funded

[Acquisition of artifacts, survey or inventory of historic properties, condition assessments, collection cataloging, long-term curation or maintenance, salaries and overhead.]

Selection criteria include national significance, an urgent preservation and/or conservation need, a clear public benefit, and feasibility. A 50/50 non-Federal match is required, and recipient Federal agencies may not assess costs for administering the project. Applications from the Federal agencies had to be received by Feb. 1, 1999, although the guidelines for the agencies' applications were only received by Heritage Preservation Jan. 22 for sending out to the agencies.

The next deadline is more generous: All funds must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2000.

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