Name: Angela Andres
Job Description: Special Collections Conservator
What do you do?
I am a conservator at New York University’s conservation lab. Most of the materials we treat are paper-based (books, archival materials, photographs, posters, etc.) but our lab also treats and creates housings for things like glass plate negatives, art on paper, paintings, sculptures, and many other types of objects found in the library’s special collections. Conservation is not exactly a science (although some people do become conservation scientists) but a discipline incorporating aspects of science (i.e. chemistry), history, craft, and art, among others. We do not “restore” the objects we work on but rather attempt to preserve and stabilize them so that they can be used and enjoyed by library users for as long as possible. There are many types of conservators; for more information about what conservators do and how to become a conservator, you can visit the website of our national professional organization, AIC, and explore under the “About Conservation” menu: http://www.conservation-us.org/home. You can also find and follow us as NYUPreservation on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
What can I see?
We are in a sub-basement and therefore, no view to the outside! My bench is toward the back of the lab; on it you can see some books awaiting treatment. I happen to be alone in the lab at the moment but on any given day there might be up to 8 people working, including full-time staff and student workers. On the angled table (covered in a black cloth) is an ultrasonic welder; we use it to create polyester sleeves for some library materials. Other fun equipment you can’t see in this picture: a large humidification chamber, a fume hood for working with solvents, a microscope, and a really really big sink.
When I’m not doing science I…
…am just trying to keep up with my 2-year-old.