Volume 14, Number 1, Jan. 1992, pp.30-31


Rosanna Zubiate-Brenner, column editor
The Art of Private Devotion: Retablo Painting of Mexico
by Gloria Fraser Giffords, InterCultura & The Meadows Museum, 1991, The Hurst Printing Company.

This pictorial exhibition catalogue was produced for the first significant exhibition of retablos in the United States. The essays offer an in-depth study of the tradition by some important scholars in this field.

Photographers: A Sourcebook for Historical Research
Peter E. Palmquist, ed., Carl Mautz Publishing, Brownsville, California, 1991, 120 pages, $25.00. Available through Carl Mautz Publishing, P.O. Box 9, Brownsville, CA 95919.

This interesting publication delves into "how to conduct research about photographers," and is broken up into two sections, the first is "The Experience of Regional Directory Research," written by several authors, and the second is titled, "Directories of Photographers: An Annotated World Bibliography," written by Richard Rudisill. These two sections present varied chapters dealing with each of the two topics. Some of the chapters in the first section are, "Where Did You Find That One?", "California Photographers: A Personal Account of Regionalism in Practice", "Combining Directory Research with Demographic Analysis", and "Ruminations after a Bibliography of Directory Research." The second section consists of a "Bibliography", "Published Works", and "Published Works in Progress." Both sections are very complete and present much information never before published.

Report on Research Issues in Electronic Records Released by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission
News Release, National Archives, November 6, 1991.

In January 1991, a meeting in Washington DC sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society was underwritten by a grant from the NHPRC. The purpose of this meeting was to call for information dealing with the problems of coping with electronic records. For more information, or to obtain a copy of the report, write: Lisa Weber, NHPRC, National Archives Building, Room 607, Washington DC, 20408.

Choosing and Working with a Conservator
by Jan Paris, SOLINET Preservation Program, Southeastern Library Network, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, 1990, 24 pages. (Available from SOLINET, phone 800/999-8558 or 404/892-0943.)

This well-written booklet seeks to guide non-conservators on the staffs of libraries, archives, historical societies, and related collecting institutions in selecting and working with a conservator for books, manuscripts, and other "special collections" materials.

The booklet emphasizes the need to be cautious in choosing a conservator, and explains how to review the qualifications of an individual under consideration for conservation work. Advice is also given about how to develop a "collaborative working relationship" with a conservator, and what to expect from a professional conservator in the way of reports and documentation. The conservation discipline, conservation training (including apprenticeship), and conservation professional organizations are summarized. Two centers that refer conservators--SOLINET and the FAIC--are discussed.

Several photographs that illustrate manuscripts before and after conservation are included, as well as listings of major conservation professional organizations, conservation training programs, conservation regional centers, and a brief bibliography emphasizing issues in the conservation of rare books and manuscripts.

This is a straightforward, informative book. Its conclusion states, in part, "Selecting a conservator is a serious proposition, but it need not be daunting. It is important to exercise caution and not rashly entrust our cultural treasures to a person whose judgment and skills are not commensurate with the task."(p.16)


The Care and Handling of Recorded Sound Materials
by Gilles St.-Laurent, Commission on Preservation and Access, 1991, 12 pages.

Conservation of sound recordings on record discs, magnetic tape, and compact discs are the subject of this report. These artifacts are made primarily from various kinds of plastics, and it is necessary to determine what plastics were used in the manufacturing of a sound recording artifact in order to care for it and anticipate its conservation needs. Three primary concerns are identified in the handling and storage of all kinds of sound recordings: keep free of foreign matter deposits; keep free of pressure that might cause deformations; store in a stable, controlled environment. Details are provided on how to accomplish these goals.

This publication is an expanded version of an article initially prepared for the National Library of Canada's "National Library News." The author is in the Music Division of the National Library of Canada. The report is available free of charge, while supplies last, from the Commission on Preservation and Access, 1785 Massachusetts Avenue NW Suite 313, Washington, DC 20036, 202/483-7474.


Return of the Sacred Pole
VHS videotape produced by Michael Farrell, Nebraska Educational Television, 1990. 30 minutes.

The repatriation of the Sacred Pole of the Omaha people in Nebraska from the Peabody Museum, Cambridge, is presented. Of particular interest to conservators is the clear depiction of a unique and vulnerable item retuned to situation in which it is periodically in use. A conservator at the Peabody is shown preparing a detailed documentation of the Pole prior to its repatriation. A protective transport/storage box, specially prepared by the Peabody for the Pole, is also seen. This video can be rented from the Native American Public Broadcasting Consortium, Box 83111, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501, 402/472-3522.


Zuni Repatriation of Human Remains and Religious Objects
VHS videotape produced by Ed Ladd and Tom McCarthy, The Museum of New Mexico. 15 minutes.

The Zuni outlook and attitude about repatriation of various kinds of Zuni historic and prehistoric material, and the Museum of New Mexico's approach to accommodate Zuni concerns about their heritage, is presented. Of particular interest to conservators is (1) the attitude of the Zuni tribe toward replica kachina masks made by non-Indians in the museum's collection and (2) the return of repatriated Zuni War Gods to open-air shrines and the depiction of a fortified shrine enclosure recently constructed on Zuni lands to prevent thefts.

This video can be rented through the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, P.O. Box 2087, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504.


The Paper Conservator, Volume 15 Helen Shenton, Editor; The Institute of Paper Conservation, Leigh Lodge, Leigh, Worcestershire, WR6 5LB, England; 1991; 70 p.; $30 (non-memb.)

This outstanding new issue of "The Paper Conservator" includes the following articles:

"An Introduction to the Parkes Collection of Japanese Papers" (Pauline Webber and Andrew Thompson),

"Mineral Fillers in Paper" (Ken Beazley)

"Arab Papermaking" (Don Baker)

"The Use of Chelating Agents in Conservation Treatments" (Helen Burgess),

"Foxing Stains and Discolouration of Leaf Margins and Paper Surrounding Ink" (Frank J. Ligterink, J. Porck, and Wim J. Th. Smit),

"Fixing Graphite; A Preliminary Investigation into the Conservation of Shelley's Notebooks" (Nancy Bell and Derek Priest),

"Hell's Own Brew; Home Book Renovation from the Nineteenth Century Receipts to Today's Kitchen Chemistry" (Barbara Rhodes). Photographs, many in color, illustrate most articles. Extensive biblio. refs.


Sayonara, Michaelangelo: The Sistine Chapel Restored and Repackaged
by Waldemar Januszczak, Addison Wesley, $10.

Reviewer Oliver Banks said this "idiosyncratic riff about the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel" is "alternately amusing, annoying, enlightening and appalling" as it attempts to address the many issues that inevitably accompanied the recent cleaning and restoration. [Editor's note: origin of Oliver Banks's review not included with this submission.]

Talking It Over
by Julian Barnes, Alfred A. Knopf, 275 pages, $21.

From a review entitled "Fractured Triangle" written by Donald Newlove (origin of review not included with this submission):

[Barnes] has written a tale of friendship and sexual betrayal. The leads are Stuart Hughes and Gillian Wyatt, married Londoners, and Oliver Russell, Stuart's best friend, who are 'talking it over,' it being the affair that binds them. "Gillian, Barnes most appealing character, is an art restorer: She cleans very old paintings for museums, a delicate skill that leads Barnes into his most treasurable pages as Gillian patiently cleans a picture with spit and solvents, explaining what she's doing to a jumpy, ever-more-love-drunken Oliver.

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