On Saturday, September 24th, I had the wonderful opportunity to help community members learn how to preserve their family treasures. The Association of Hawaiʻi Archivists partnered with the Society of American Archivists student chapter to invite students to be presenters at this vital workshop on the west side of Oʻahu. Hawaiʻi is famous for its amazing weather. We live in paradise, however, with our subtropical climate there are unique challenges for community members wishing to preserve their papers, books, photos, and other cultural artifacts.
I was fortunate to team with three fellow classmates and SAAsc members who I have ginormous amounts of respect for: Jennifer Magdaloyo, Keala Richard, and Ellie Seaton. Together, we tackled the content of Session 1: Mālama Palapala, which covered physical environment, pests, the care of papers, books, photos, and other artifacts such as feathers, kapa, and ʻumeke/calabash. As aspiring archivists we had all studied under the wise and skillful tutelage of Deborah Dunn in LIS 619 - Preservation Management. (Keala and I were lucky enough to have Debbie for LIS 620 - Conservation Management, as well). Each of us parsed out the topics comprising our 90-minute presentation, and created all the content for our topics. The topics I selected were: pest identification and prevention, identification of types of books in the home one might preserve, and types of books commonly sold today, and photo preservation and storage. Debbie graciously agreed to help us run through the presentation, made suggestions, and then (bless her heart) she sat through it again! She was very happy with it the 2nd time around, and so was I. Having her give feedback was integral to the success of our portion of the workshop.
The audience was a mixture of different ethnicities from all over the island. They were primarily middle-aged to senior citizen, and actively took notes and asked questions throughout. It was a pleasure to be speaking at Leeward Community College, which is the CC I lived closest to (and where I started my college endeavors) back in the day! I felt really comfortable speaking to the crowd because they were really interested in learning what they could do with their possessions at home.
I found the entire experience to be very meaningful and special. We were flattered to have people ask us if we'd consider doing another workshop. Some members thanked us and let us know the community really needs workshops like these. By far, this service event required many hours of preparation, far beyond previous volunteer activities I've participated in. It was partially for that reason that this was also one of the most enjoyable, however, being told we were able to help the people who came was the best part. It was so cool to see people motivated to start preserving their own collections. Mahalo to AHA and the SAAsc for allowing me to present, and Mahalo to the community members for spending their Saturday with us and being such an awesome crowd!
On Saturday, April 2nd, I had the pleasure of working at the Hawaiian Historical Society again. I'm grateful to both the UHM Society of American Archivists student chapter, as well as the HHS for organizing these service projects for us. We worked with books from the John Plews Estate, which were donated. These were volumes of Cook's Voyages. We carefully brushed each page of the previously frozen volumes, and used microfiber cloths dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove any remaining mold. Holding the pages in the sun even briefly dried the alcohol in seconds. It was a nice time, and I have to mahalo Nicki Garces, and Jennifer Higa at the Hawaiian Historical Society!
Click images to view full-sized with captions
Herbaria, are instutitions that collect and preserve plant specimens from various regions. Some are international, and attempt to have comprehensive collections, while others are national, local, or more specialized. I found the process of learning about herbaria to be fun and I appreciated the experience. These collections serve as a store of reference material for researchers who can study specimens over long periods of time. Herbaria are vital to medical, and environmental research and can also serve as seed repositories for rare specimens.
My classmate, Kelsey, who serves on the board of the student chapter of the Society of American Archivists with me, was also really interested in the topic. Together we created a slide presentation you can view here: http://bit.do/herbaria. We visited the Joseph F. Rock Herbarium, here on campus, and had an excellent tour provided to us by Dr. Michael B. Thomas, the Collection Manager. He walked us through the history of herbaria, the various herbaria in Hawaii, answered questions about preservation challenges, and also showed us the process that their specimens go through once they're collected in the field and then brought back to the facility. All the photos above were taken during our site visit.
The video below, from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, was really neat to watch as I neared the end of my research assignment about herbaria. The assignment was part of my LIS 620, Conservation of Library & Archival Materials, course, taught by Deborah Dunn.
Today, members from the UHM Society of American Archivists student chapter, went to the Hawaiian Historical Society for a stack cleaning service project. Housekeeping is important for any collection -- dusting and checking for mold and pests helps to preserve the collection, and should be done regularly.
We started out replacing burnt-out fluorescent bulbs (that were 8 feet long!) and applied UV filters to any that needed it. Some bulbs had an existing glass UV filter tube around them, which we simply slid the bulbs in and out of. The UV film sleeves, came rolled up and were wrapped around the bulbs. Read more about the damaging effects of UV light and the importance of applying UV filters to protect your collection(s), at the Northeast Document Conservation Center's website.
While dusting the collection, we checked for signs of mold, or frass (that's bug poops for you non-library peeps). We often found ourselves distracted by the awesomeness of the collection!
A big MAHALO to Nicki and Jennifer from the HHS, who were so thoughtful and fun to work with! They reimbursed anyone who drove for the cost of their metered-parking, and provided a great lunch of Chinese food, and made us take all the leftovers since they said they remembered being starving grad students. lol! I had a great time working with everyone, and such a special collection.
Tonight, was my first day of classes for the fall 2015 semester. I'm taking LIS 620: Conservation of Library and Archival Materials, with Deborah Dunn, and it was a fun first night! We started off with introductions, the syllabus, and went into the lab to work on processing incoming pamphlets for the library's collection. We were re-introduced to some tools seen in LIS 619 (pre-requisite for LIS 620). If you're interested in Archiving and attending the UHM LIS program, LIS 619 and 620 are both required courses and aren't offered every semester, or concurrently, so it's always recommended to register for them when they appear on the schedule if you haven't taken them yet. We also have some Museum Studies students joining us since these classes count as electives for the MS certificate, and a couple of the people in LIS are looking into doing a Museum Studies certificate concurrently.
It's always neat to see multiple sides of a process. I encounter many items bound that come from the Preservation lab when receiving monographs and serials at my job in the Pacific Collection. Placing these pamphlets in archival pamphlet binders, provides prolonged access to patrons. I decided to write about this in part to solidify it in my mind while still fresh, but also to give a glimpse of the work we're doing in class.
Steps taken tonight to house pamphlets in binders
Dropping Mad Library Science!
Here is where I write about everything library and archives related going on.