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Posts from the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation Division

Time Machine: Interstitial Moment, Real News for Time Travelers

With all of my past allusions to time travel, the fictional trope, I thought it was time that I accounted for my flippancy with some hard time travel news.Read More ›

Time Machine: Redacted by Time

One of my colleagues, speaking of our collection of unique recordings at the Library for the Performing Arts, has said that, “all of our recordings are made by professionals, but recording was not their profession.” These recordists are authors, dancers, actors, musicians, vocalists, and choreographers to name a few. What they share is a need to create a record that can document works that take place in time and space.Read More ›

Reference Book List: A Selection of 'Classic' Artist Manuals

Although we may not know for sure that a certain artist consulted a certain manual, they provide important clues. In a way, these books tell a story about the history of art from the point of view of the practitioners.Read More ›

Public Events for Preservation Week, April 27–May 3

To coincide with the American Library Association's national events for Preservation Week, the Preservation Division at the New York Public library has scheduled some events for the public in the local New York City area.Read More ›

Stuffed Animal Husbandry: Caring for Winnie-the-Pooh and Friends

The New York Public Library is the proud home of the REAL Winnie-the-Pooh, the actual toy teddy bear that once belonged to Christopher Robin Milne, son of A. A. Milne, and the basis for the character Christopher Robin in the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh stories.Read More ›

Time Machine: Interstitial Moment, VHS vs. Communism

The return of Daylight Saving Time means that we have all just experienced a temporal displacement. Let’s set Time Machine back by a small increment and briefly revisit the VHS format.Read More ›

Monuments Men Reading List

The Monuments Men film was a slightly fictionalized version of the incredible true story of the activities of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Program at the end of World War II. Though much of the action really happened, some of the names and details were changed. If you enjoyed the movie and want to learn more, here is a list of suggested titles.Read More ›

Time Machine: Cloverleaf and Helix, The Early Years

My studio is an interchange where I coax content from the past, sometimes, the content itself is looking back to a more distant past, creating a cloverleaf-like feedback loop. The Early Years, *MGZIC 9-950, is one of the current projects that has come to mind in the cloverleaf.Read More ›

Lincoln Kirstein's Greatest Treasure Hunt and Find

The Monuments Men was one of the top films again last week, bringing to light the incredible true story of the museum professionals (art historians, curators, professors, conservators) who joined the Allied army's Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (MFAA), risking their lives to rescue art from thievery and bombing during World War II.Read More ›

NYPL on the Road: Archibald Motley and Loie Fuller

Happy New Year! The year has barely started and we are back on the road. And it looks like the amazing NYPL collection will be adding quite a large number of miles this year as we have already received loan requests for 22 different exhibitions throughout the year.

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Time Machine: Concatenations in Time Travel, VHS a cc: to the Future

I am remembering our old purchase order form, a multi copy (ten copies press firmly) missive to Ruth, our beloved curmudgeon in Purchasing (her voicemail began with a sigh). Each copy was fainter and less readable than its predecessor. I am thinking about VHS, a format that succeeded by virtue of its worst quality, the ability to record at a slower speed (up to six hours on a T-120 cassette). What better way for balletomanes to compile every dance performance ever broadcast on two 

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Behind the Scenes of an NYPL Exhibition

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of each exhibition project at The New York Public Library. The NYPL organizes several beautiful exhibitions throughout the year and the Registrar's Office is involved in all the exhibitions that happen in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street.

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Microfilm in the Library

Preserving the Visual Past: An Introduction

When people ask me what I do, I usually answer them by stating that I'm in the restoration business. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of This Old House knows what it is when something is restored. Restoring an item also has this connotation that you will soon get that object back near its original form. It is easier to grasp and I get less blank stares. It is another story altogether when I tell them I work in Preservation.

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Time Machine: Problematic Travel with U-matic

U-matic was once the industry's serviceable vehicle. Today it could take you back 40 years or more. If you intend to take a ride, you will have to accept a few compromises, as with any antique vehicle maintenance and parts are always a concern. The most charming artifact of the older black and white recordings is lag or ghosting in the camera imaging tube in which people appear to leave their bodies and follow themselves about, making every solo an eerie duet. 

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What a Tool: The Hot Knife

Welcome to What a Tool, the inaugural post in a continuing series that will highlight some of the tools and equipment used in the Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory to perform conservation treatment on the NYPL's varied and unique collections. Episode one: the Hot Knife.

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What is a Registrar?

Sometimes you don't have a loading dockNo, I am not here to take care of your transcript or enroll you in a course. It is the same word, but it takes a very different meaning in the museum world or at a Research Library like the NYPL.

Registrars in the museum world are the staff responsible for the development and enforcement of policies and procedures related to the acquisition, management, movement, and safekeeping of collections. Records related to the objects for which the institution has assumed responsibility are maintained by the Registrar. Registrars may handle all the 

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NYPL on the Road: September Exhibitions Featuring Works from the NYPL Special Collections

Traditionally summer is a less busy time for registrar staff as the most ambitious shows open in the Fall and the Spring. However we have been busy this summer and have received many requests for exhibitions. You should make sure to check out the following shows in NYC that feature NYPL loans:

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Time Machine: Personal 8 mm Film and Video by Jerome Robbins

I have an inordinate love of 8 mm film. Not just because of its familiar 4:3 TV aspect ratio that so many of us were raised on, but because it was the first medium many of us used for time travel. The persistent click of the pull down claw is a rhythm from memory that can lull us into the past. Occasionally, I feel that I have been the subject of an archival Ludovico Technique and have watched so many pas des deux that when ordinary non-dance material offers me 

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Disasters Happen, Preservation Responds

We're right smack in the middle of hurricane season on the Atlantic Coast, and New York City's recent tragic history with storms has reminded us too well that disasters happen. Disasters can be huge, like Superstorm Sandy, but they can also be small, like a burst pipe. When disasters happen that affect the collections of the New York Public Library, the Preservation Division responds.

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