August 1, 2011

Sheridan Libraries receive $1.054 mill Mellon grant for conservation

The Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins have been awarded a $1.054 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to renew the Heritage Science for Conservation Project. The HSC Project, which serves as a bridge between the art and science of conservation, is based in the libraries’ Department of Conservation and Preservation and is run in close collaboration with the university’s Whiting School of Engineering.

“This is wonderful news, and we are extremely grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their belief in our work and their generous support,” said Sonja Jordan-Mowery, the Joseph Ruzicka and Marie Ruzicka Feldman Director for Conservation and Preservation. “We have quickly established ourselves as a center of innovation, and I am excited about the opportunity to deepen our partnerships across Johns Hopkins and with conservation scientists and conservators around the world.”

Launched as a pilot program in 2009 with Mellon support, HSC provides opportunities for research fellows to collaborate with faculty and students in the Whiting School’s Department of Materials Science, the Johns Hopkins University Museums, area institutions and the Canadian Conservation Institute. The investigations emphasize research relevant to materials in libraries, archives and other cultural heritage organizations. Collaboration with conservators ensures that discoveries from the researcher’s lab can be quickly translated and applied by conservators.

“The Mellon Foundation’s grant affirms the very valuable contributions the Heritage Science for Conservation Project has already made, both in advancing the science of conservation and in fostering collaboration across disciplines,” said Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums. “This kind of work and these partnerships are critical, even in our digital age, for ensuring that our collections are preserved for future generations.”

In addition to enhancing dialogue between conservators and heritage scientists in the United States, the HSC team has begun international outreach, including presentations on the project and research findings in South Korea and Canada. This past spring, HSC hosted a conference with Glatfelter Paper, a leading paper manufacturer, on paper performance and permanence. For the next five years, members of HSC will explore issues related to book and paper with particular focus on copper corrosion, paper strengthening and the role of lignin in paper permanence.

Johns Hopkins’ Sheridan Libraries encompass the Milton S. Eisenhower Library and its collections at the Albert D. Hutzler Reading Room in Gilman Hall, the John Work Garrett Library at Evergreen Museum & Library, the George Peabody Library at Mt. Vernon Place and the D.C. Regional Libraries. Together these collections provide the major research library resources for the university.