Collecting the Referendum: Preserving Plastic Propaganda

Only six months on from the Scottish independence referendum, and conservators at the National Library of Scotland are already considering the best way to preserve material produced by the two opposing political campaigns. Paper Conservator, Shona Hunter, discusses the difficulties in conserving this modern collection in this week’s blog…

I began working as a conservator at the National Library of Scotland in March 2014. I am part of a team of qualified professionals who carry out remedial treatments, create specialist housing, monitor and control storage environments and train staff and readers on the handling of manuscripts and books. We also prepare items for exhibition and loan. Historic items receive attention as do ephemeral materials which reflect modern life.

The National Library of Scotland is based in Edinburgh, my hometown. I moved back just in time to cast my vote in the referendum on Scottish Independence. Since then I have become involved with repackaging a sample of referendum related paraphernalia. After acquiring some banners, placards and signs, the referendum curator got in touch because she was concerned about the best way to protect and store these items.

Shona Hunter with some modern items from the referendum collection

Shona Hunter with some modern items from the referendum collection

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A Conservator Abroad….Japan

This week’s article comes from Elizabeth Hepher, a paper conservator at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), who recently travelled to Japan to take part in a three week course on Japanese paper conservation.

International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper – JPC 2014

From the 25th August until the 12th September 2014 I joined ten paper conservators from around the world to attend the International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper. The course was organised by The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and hosted by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Tokyo (NRICPT) and has been running in Japan for the last 20 years.

Aim of the course

The aim of the course was to give conservators an in-depth understanding into the materials and techniques that make up Japanese works of art on paper and their associated paper conservation. The format of the course combined lectures and practical work, with the outcome being the participants learning how to make a hand scroll. The practical work was complemented by a one week study tour. Lectures were all in Japanese and with English provided by a translator.

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