Preservation at Special Collections and University Archives

Special Collections and University Archives employs a full-time conservator who works with student assistants to treat and house such paper-based collections as books, manuscripts, maps, and broadsides. Recent projects have included deacidifying and encapsulating WWII posters, repairing and rehousing the 19th Century Children's Chapbook collection, and rehousing a collection of lantern slides from the Griffis collection. Funding for projects comes from national and state grants,donations from private individuals, and library funds.

Along with caring for individual items, Special Collections and University Archives staff focus on protecting collections from dangers such as natural disasters or poor environmental conditions. The conservator also reviews loan requests for exhibits and photoduplication requests for fragile material to ensure that materials are displayed and handled appropriately. Through preventative and remedial actions, Special Collections and University Archives works to ensure that its collections will be available to future users.

Individual collectors can use many of the same strategies to protect and preserve their own collections. Protecting collections from light, dust, pests, fluctuating temperatures and relative humidity will help slow deterioration. More information on preservation for private collectors can be found at the websites of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress also provides information on the preservation of specific formats and types of media.

The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works offers a free conservation referral service. Conservation professionals in a variety of fields and locations are available for consultation and treatment of private collections. The service can be reached at: FAIC Referral Service, 1717 K Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006; Phone: 202-452-9545, ext. 1; Fax: (202) 452-9328; email:

Two other sources for conservation treatment can be found through regional conservation centers that serve New Jersey:

The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA)
264 South 23rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Telephone: 215-545-0613
Fax: 215-735-9313

Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)
100 Brickstone Square
Andover, MA 01810-1494
Telephone: 978-470-1010
Fax: 978-475-6021