In the paper conservation studios, students conserve fine art prints and drawings, historic posters and maps, and many other diverse paper-based artifacts such as photographs, rare books, library collections, archival records/documents and manuscripts.
At any given time, students are assigned or select projects from the more than 80 framed and unframed paper objects awaiting treatment in the laboratory each year. Projects have included a large-scale chalk drawing by Keith Haring, prints by Käthe Kollwitz and other twentieth-century artists, a nineteenth-century traveler's guide booklet with attached map, movie posters from the 1950's and 1960's, a large, heavily-damaged, varnished wall map, a series of Chinese pith paintings, a mold-damaged seventeenth-century book with a vellum cover, and nineteenth-century Japanese color wood block prints.
In addition to their conservation treatments, students also learn techniques for the preparation of a diverse range of housings for paper artifacts, including folders, encapsulations, window mats and sealed framing systems for paper artifacts they reinstall in the original historic frames. Students also carry out special research projects many of which result in presentations or publication in professional venues. Recent projects include the history and treatment of photo buttons, the use of paper splitting for the preservation of books and archival materials, and the use of reducing agents in paper washing and bleaching.
The paper conservation lab has dedicated spaces for both rare book and photo conservation as well so that students can receive instruction in these specialties even when there are classes or conservation treatments in the general paper lab.