American Archives Month is right around the corner in October! This year, various Archives and Special Collections throughout Virginia are teaming up to give YOU a chance to showcase your talents, while celebrating the importance of archival material. You could even win a $100 gift card! REMIX | Spirits in the Archives is a contest created by the Virginia Caucus of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference to inspire literal and figurative out-of-the-box ideas for cultural heritage collections. Archives aren’t just about serious research—they can be about serious (or not so serious) art! Redaction poetry, GIFs, collages, coloring pages, memes, and other digital interventions are all ways to remix.
by Fiona Wirth Have you ever had an interest in paper engineering? The Carol Barton Pop-Up Collection found in Special Collections has over 700 examples of movable books. Jen LeMay and Fiona Wirth, two student assistants, spent several weeks this summer preparing the collection for use. Additions to Special Collections require organization, preservation, and archival processing. Fiona and Jen were tasked with recording each book’s structure and analyzing the multi-faceted techniques used to engineer these three dimensional worlds. Elements used to form each pop-up were identified, including “box cuts” that can create stairs in their most basic form, “pull tabs,” “flaps” (lifted to reveal hidden images), “rotating volvelles,” (a fancy term for a spinning wheel), and many more. The information collected will be added to the library catalogue so they may be retrieved for instruction sessions in the reading room when art classes visit the library to view examples of paper engineering techniques. Most of the pop-up elements identified involved cuts and creases made in the paper. Jen and Fiona examined each book and wrote the elements found on a preliminary check list that will eventually accompany the books to cataloging. For example, here is a photo of a valley Continue reading The Carol Barton Pop-Up Book Collection
Written by Fiona Wirth This past summer, I began working in Carrier Library for Special Collections and Preservation. Over the summer my fellow student workers and I have worked on many projects such as the Blackley Collection, both archiving and preserving collections for future use by library patrons. Most recently, fellow student Jen LeMay and I have been organizing the recently acquired Carol Barton Pop-Up and Movable Book Collection. This collection is amazing for the diversity in subject matter and intricate artistry of the book themselves. There are over 700 titles in this collection, which were amassed by Carol Barton, and international book artist and curator whose work can be found in renowned locations such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Ms. Barton was also JMU’s first Wampler visiting professor of Fine Art in 1992. As an Art History major, the books that interested me the most related to many popular artists and their artwork. Frequently art history is only encountered through cumbersome textbooks or large museums, making art seem unapproachable or too complex. However, art pop-ups like the ones found in the Carol Barton Collection are fun and interesting, whether or not you’re Continue reading Pop-Ups: A New Way to Study Art History
Madison Whitesell is a recent JMU graduate with degrees in art history and studio art. She began working in Preservation as a sophomore in 2015 and spent this summer working as a wage employee. This is her JMU Libraries story. “Madison, tell our audience a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a preservation assistant” I’ve been interested in art conservation since high school. When I first realized that I loved art history as much as I loved making art, conservation presented itself as a way to combine the academics of art history with the hands on skills of making art. I heard there was a library preservation job available to students where you got to help repair books and I was immediately sold. I emailed Julia Merkel, Preservation Officer, and (politely) begged her to hire me. “What are some of the major projects/highlights of your time here?” I’ve gotten to do some of the coolest things here; things I never imagined doing when I was first hired. Just the idea of repairing books for the rest of my life was exciting but I’ve also gotten to help plan, curate, and install library exhibitions, as well Continue reading A Look Back – Interview with Preservation Assistant Madison Whitesell