Cara Johnston and Tish Brewer at the workshop where they flattened maps and repaired books, at the UFM.

“In this beautiful collection we have seen things that we hadnt seen before and probably we wont see them again.  People should know more about this collection and should visit it”, said Tish Brewer and Cara Johnston, experts from the Kilgarin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record of the University of Texas, that came to the Francisco Marroquín University to work on the special collection José Cecilio del Valle and the Universitys map collection.

“We feel that we are about to finish everything that we proposed to do and we have completed our pending list”, they explained as their last days at the UFM came closer.

Brewer and Johnston came last May 26th and will leave next June 23rd.  During this time they straightened maps using basic techniques such as damping, drying and flattening.  They also did minor repairs that will allow the best conservation of books that are lightly damaged, or in danger of being damaged.  Likewise they practiced book handling techniques to avoid deterioration by use.

In this sense they built boxes to protect the most precarious books, the made cradles to safely handle the units, they ingeniously developed supports for big books and made objects to make reading easier without damaging the book pages.  Such is the case of the supports made with covered bricks and the snake that helps keeping the books open.

During the time they stayed at the UFM they also instructed the librarys personnel on special collections conservation; and gave a manipulation and conservation course for handling books by the general public.  They also had an interview with Gustavo Montenegro, writer of D Magazine, from Prensa Libre.

The José Cecilio Del Valle Special Collection has the personal library of the Central American founding father; an important section of the UFM’s map collection; a book collection of Mesoamerican travelers donated by Carlos Elmenhorst; and the personal library of the economist William Hutt; among others.

While working on that room, they were visited by Kan Shin-ying, the civil engineer who’s building the Taipei 101, the world’s tallest building. They were also visited by the group that is participating in the colloquy on environmentalism and forms part of the series Explorations on Liberty organizad by the UFM and the Liberty Fund.

Tish Brewer is candidate to a Master of Science in Library and Information Science; and a Certificate of Advanced Studies at the University of Texas, in Austin.  She has taught at the School of Information, of UT, at the National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos and the Institute of Classical Archaeology of UT, in Sebastopol, Ucrania.  She also did conservation work in 12th Street Books.

Cara Johnston is candidate for a Master of Science in Library and Information Science; and a Certificate of Advanced Studies at the Unviersity of Texas, in Austin.  In UT she is Benson Latin American Collection Student Technician, where she has been involved in decisions on circulating books that need to be repaired; and has done such repairs, as book covers.  She also gives assessment in preservation techniques.

More photos,
here.