The McLean Conservation Department

The McLean Conservation Department is a book conservation workspace staffed by three book conservators.  Our objective is to preserve our collection materials and make them available to our readers. Our priority is to retain as much original material as possible by performing non-invasive conservation techniques. The Conservation Department works closely with the Librarian and curators to determine priorities for ongoing conservation projects. About 1000 items come through the conservation department each year. The Conservation Department also has a key role in the exhibition program, coordinating with the exhibit curator, overseeing the design aspects in the gallery, and preparing and installing all of the exhibition materials.

Our staff has an extensive knowledge of bookbinding history and will occasionally advise other staff members on the structure, materials, and dates of bindings. Additionally, research fellows and other scholars working on bookbinding history routinely consult with our conservators about their work. An ongoing project to catalog Nineteenth century publishers’ bindings is available to researchers online.