Internship in Preservation Services: Mold remediation and re-binding (Landover, MD, USA)

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The Smithsonian Libraries' successful internship program currently provides students in library and information science and other disciplines, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work side by side with expert Smithsonian Libraries and Smithsonian staff to acquire the latest skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience needed for today's information and cultural heritage marketplace.

In honor of the Libraries' 50th Anniversary, a new paid internship program was created and will begin in Summer 2019. One conservation internship opportunity is offered full time for eight weeks during the summer of 2019, with a stipend.

Below are detailed project descriptions for Summer 2019, followed by application instructions and additional program information.

Email Erin Rushing (rushinge@si.edu) with questions. Applications will close January 18th, 2019.

  • Preservation Services: Mold remediation and re-binding
  • Location: Smithsonian Libraries Book Conservation Lab, Landover, MD

This project would be ideal for a graduate student in the field of book or paper conservation with a particular interest in caring for collections in need, or that may be threatened, throughout the world.

In 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the US Virgin Islands (USVI), causing flooding in the USVI Legislative Archive in St. John, among damage in other locations. Eighteen volumes of the proceedings of the USVI Legislator, the Journals, were badly damaged by water immersion and subsequent mold growth. The Journals are hand-written records dating from 1909-1954. The Smithsonian Libraries has been entrusted to repair these materials.

The proposed internship would first involve assisting in mold remediation of the eight untreated volumes of legislative materials. The intern will assist full documentation of the books in their current condition, separating pages that are stuck together and vacuuming the records with a HEPA-filter vacuum in a fume hood to remove the dormant spores. The next part of the internship project would be the re-binding all 18 volumes of legislative records. The intern will gain experience removing damaged book boards, consolidating textblocks and spines, and creating new binding covers. This process will be a good exercise in production-style bookbinding.

There will be other aspects of the project, for example, the Journal dating from 1909 requires extensive paper repair owing to both mold and insect damage. Currently most of its pages are in shards; many of the most heavily damaged pages are written in Danish. The intern will assist a conservator with re-organizing and uniting the pieces of the pages so the text is legible, then lining the reconstructed pages with lightweight Japanese paper for stability.

The selected intern will be able to learn how recommendations and treatment decisions are based on collections currently stored in vulnerable locations. Understanding the effects of climate and environmental conditions can assist with this opportunity for studying these early 20th century ledger bindings in conjunction with best practices of storage, access, and handling.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAM INFORMATION

Eligibility Criteria

This paid internship program is open to United States citizens (or permanent residents) who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program (depending on project) from an accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or those who have graduated in the past six months.

Application Materials

  • Resume detailing your experience, career interests and internship goals
  • Unofficial Academic Transcripts from all college/universities attended
  • Academic Essay: Two pages describing how academic goals, qualifications and career aspirations relate to the internship at the Smithsonian Libraries
  • Two professional or academic recommendations (e.g., professors, past employers, supervisors), submitted electronically through SOLAA

All applications must be submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system: https://solaa.si.edu . Applicants should be sure to choose "Smithsonian Institution Libraries" as the unit, "Smithsonian Libraries 50th Anniversary Internship Program" as the program, and then select the conservation project listed.

Selection Criteria

  • At least a 3.0 GPA in the major (as verified by the submission of academic transcripts)
  • Demonstrated interest in the research, museological, and conservation activities of the Smithsonian Institution and work of Smithsonian Libraries
  • Demonstrated knowledge or coursework related to Smithsonian areas of interest; solid writing, analytical, and computer skills are mandatory.
  • Suitable Smithsonian Libraries' projects for members of applicant pool.

Payment

Interns may receive $500 per week (undergraduates) or $550 per week (graduate students), which is awarded to the student as a stipend. Internships are full time (35 hours per week) for eight weeks. Interns are not eligible for Smithsonian or Federal transportation benefits.

Schedule

Applicants should expect to be notified of selection status in mid-February. Internships will be performed for eight full weeks during the summer. Internships typically begin in early June, though exact dates are flexible, depending on project and supervisor.

Further inquiries about Smithsonian Libraries Internships should be directed to: Erin Clements Rushing (rushinge@si.edu) or, go to: https://library.si.edu/about/internships-and-fellowships.

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