Behind the scenes in special in-house labs, conservators repair and restore fragile historical materials such as books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and photographs.
Conservation treatments undertaken in this laboratory include: cleaning, removal of tape and other components harmful to the condition of the item (rusty staples, paperclips, acidic linings/mounts, acidic adhesives), deacidification (a chemical treatment that neutralizes acids present in paper), repairs (to paper, book pages, book bindings, book covers, etc.), bookbinding (new or rebinding), matting, encapsulation, and making protective enclosures (boxes, pamphlet binders, folders, custom designed enclosures). Besides treating books, documents, and other paper-based materials, conservation staff also occasionally have been called upon to address the conservation needs of textiles, paintings, and objects. Treatments are aimed at stabilizing historical materials, removing agents of deterioration, and/or making items accessible for use.
Other responsibilities of the Conservation Department include answering questions from the public and other institutions about preservation of historical materials, monitoring the environmental conditions in which the library's collections are kept, and assisting in the preparation of items for loan or exhibit (performing any necessary treatments, providing advice on appropriate mounts).
Please note that the staff cannot treat privately owned items, but can provide sources for needed services.
Historical Documents Conservator
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
112 North Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Phone: (217) 785-7934