Something different, an open lecture at the Centre for the Book, by migrant New Zealander Fenella France, a conservator at the Library of Congress in Washington D. C.

As usual, some thoughts I noted at the lecture:

The Library of Congress contains 155 million objects.  At least one historically important collection is counted as one object.

She needs to know about the sensitivity to light of a cartoonist’s felt-tip pens, the ones he ducked out for to his local newspaper stand.

The current fiscal environment means more collaboration between institutions.

A lot of work with imaging technology.  This is interesting comparing what is happening in New Zealand museums with Maori artifacts.

Thomas Jefferson expurged the reference to ‘fellow subjects’ from the Declaration of Independence, smudging it out and replacing it with ‘fellow citizens’.  She has ‘de-expurged’ the words with technology.  We discover how history is created, and written, right down to different hand-writings of various writers, quite literally.

Are those really President Lincoln’s finger-prints left on the second page of the Gettysburg Address?  Along with others in the lecture theatre I will wait to hear.

People believe that that big display is the original, overlooking the lesser object that might be displayed beside it.  Don’t they realise the economies of history?

Pay attention to fellow workers in other disciplines who work with the materials and handle them.  They might have something interesting to say, and open new avenues of discovery.

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