Thursday, December 22, 2011

broken lantern slides

While our library collection is primarily books and manuscripts, we do get other sorts of artifacts.  I had an earlier guest post about a collection of glass plate negatives that presented significant storage challenges.  With a big collection you can set aside staff time for a re-housing project that addresses all the issues of access, handling, supplies and so on.  When you have just a few items that come in as part of a larger collection sometimes you have to create solutions on the fly.

This lantern slide is cracked but still intact.  Given the shards of glass, it is not really safe to use, nor is it a good idea to put it into storage without stabilizing it in some way.  Most of the slides that came in this collection were just fine, but what to do with the few that weren't?  It is better not to separate the slides and
make different workflows, so the stabilization needs to be done promptly, ideally making the slide safe to
store and to use. 

Backing and wrapping is a technique I use to exhibit small or thin items and when I saw these slides come through our processing unit I thought it would work well for broken lantern slides.  The basic technique involves cutting a piece of white mat board just a few millimeters larger than the slide, wrapping a piece of clear 3ml. polyester around the slide and board and then securing the polyester with double stick tape.  The white board allows for viewing of the image and the polyester holds all the shards in place, protecting anyone viewing or handling the broken slide.  This back and wrap can be done quickly, and with offcuts we have on hand from other projects.

wrapped slide, front

wrapped slide, back
Neat and effective!

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