Preservation and Conservation
The Huntington Library is an extraordinary trove of books, manuscripts, and other materials that are treasured both for their intellectual content and as irreplaceable cultural artifacts. The core mission of the Library’s Preservation Department is to ensure that these collections survive, in their original formats, for the use and enjoyment of future generations. The Department’s activities focus on the skilled treatment and repair of individual items, as well as the long-term preservation of the collections. In this way we support the Library’s mission to collect, organize, and preserve written and graphic materials, and to make them available to scholars.
A paintings conservator examines an early 20th century painting.
The Library Conservation Center
The Library addressed preservation and conservation concerns beginning in the 1920’s with the construction of fire- and earthquake-proof rare book stacks and the establishment of a book bindery. In 1981, the construction of the Avery Conservation Center ushered in a new era of comprehensive preservation and conservation activity.
Today, the Library Conservation Center is located on the second floor of the Munger Research Center. The conservation laboratory, a 10,000 square foot facility built in 2004, includes a book and paper lab, wet/chemical labs, a photo documentation studio, a particulate room, and offices. Library exhibitions design and preparation is housed in a separate 2,000 square foot studio.
A conservation technician disbinds a 1608 Latin copy of the works of Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius.
In the Library Conservation Center, highly trained conservators and technicians conduct physical and chemical treatments on rare books, manuscripts, works of art on paper, and photographic materials. The library preservation program consists of interrelated activities which include:
- preventive and collections level conservation
- single item conservation treatment of rare library materials
- environmental control
- integrated pest management
- emergency preparedness
- exhibitions design and preparation
Education, Training, Outreach
Education, training, and outreach are an important part of library preservation at The Huntington. Visit Conservation Internships for information about current internships, and learn about the contributions of internship recipients.
The preservation department does not offer conservation treatment to the public, however, for guides on caring for your collections or to find a conservator in your area, please visit the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works