Pre-Program Internship

Pre-Program Internship in Rare Book and Library Materials Conservation

The UW Libraries offers one pre-program internship in conservation each year.  Interns have the opportunity to develop their conservation treatment skills and portfolio using diverse special collections from the UW Libraries.  Applicants are expected to have a demonstrated interest in conservation and to be preparing for or enrolled in a graduate-level conservation program.

This is a full-time (40 hours per week) summer program.  Duration is 10 weeks.  The position will be advertised in early winter on the Global Conservation Forum and PADG listserves with applications due typically due February or March.  For more information, read the full description.

 

2019 WUDPAC Intern, Yan Ling Choi

2019 Yan Ling Choi

I am incredibly grateful for the internship experience at the UW Libraries Conservation Center this summer. The internship expanded my understanding in conservation and provided an opportunity for me to apply the knowledge I attained from graduate school in a university library setting within an efficient working environment. During my eleven weeks, I treated five bindings in parchment and leather at various levels of complexity, ranging from paper mending, joint reinforcement to rebacking with paper and leather. I also attended an FAIC workshop, Traditional Techniques in the Conservation of Leather Bookbindings, taught by James Reid-Cunningham. With the wonderful mentorship and guidance from senior conservator Justin Johnson, these experiences allowed me to think critically about how each treatment decision affects the long-term preservation and usage, as well as the mechanics of the book.

Aside from working on bound volumes, a large part of my internship focused on stabilizing and rehousing 11 Chinese stele rubbings. After humidification and flattening, I mended the tears and losses using pre-coated tissues, a treatment procedure developed by previous intern Alexa Machnik. Justin and I designed and modified commercially available tube storage for rehousing the oversized rubbings and scrolls. Overall, the internship has helped to build my confidence as an emerging conservator, and I gained many invaluable skills. I was very grateful to the engaging and supportive staff in the lab.

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Yan Ling Choi is from Hong Kong and a second-year Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow in Library and Archive Conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC). She holds a B.A. in Art Conservation with minors in art history and chemistry from the University of Delaware. She previously interned at Penn Museum, Barnes Foundation, Hong Kong Conservation Office, Winterthur Museum, and Walters Museum of Art.  She will be interning at the University of Michigan Libraries for her third-year studies.

 

2018 Intern, Alexa Machnik

Alexa Machnik

I had a wonderful experience interning at the Conservation Center this summer. The internship far exceeded my expectations in terms of scope and it was an absolute pleasure to work under the guidance and mentorship of Justin Johnson. In the ten weeks alone, I reconstructed a historic binding model and completed extensive treatments on nine leather-bound volumes, all of which strengthened my documentation and decision-making skills while providing ample opportunities for me to experience a diverse range of treatments and techniques.

Another large part of my internship focused on the Chinese stele rubbing collection of the East Asia Library. Building upon my background in Chinese art history, I had the unique opportunity to identify a conservation treatment protocol for the collection using pre-coated repair materials. This undertaking culminated in a full written proposal complete with rehousing solutions, case study treatment results, and financial and labor projections. The project proved to be rigorous, but the chance to be part of the collaborative effort to promote the preservation of the rubbings collection was something truly special. I am incredibly thankful for the insights I have gained from this experience. Not only has my confidence grown, but I am more prepared to embrace the next chapter of my career.

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Alexa Machnik earned her B.A. with Honors in Art History and East Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018. She previously completed conservation internships at the University of Wisconsin Libraries, Yale Peabody Museum and Art Research Center in Kyoto, Japan, and most recently worked as a conservation technician at the Center for Preservation and Conservation at Yale University Library. In Fall 2020, she will begin studying at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University Conservation Center as a Mellon Fellow in Library and Archives Conservation.

 

2017 Intern, Christine Manwiller

Christine Manwiller

I have thoroughly enjoyed my ten weeks as an intern at the UW Libraries Conservation Center. My priorities were to increase my knowledge of leather binding treatments and complete more sophisticated photo documentation and treatment reports. This summer I have treated thirteen volumes, and a large foldout map. I learned new treatments, including leather rebacks and board-tacketing, and practiced my gold tooling skills. I was also introduced to the wonderful world of leather dyeing. My projects were focused on my main goal to work with leather, but also were varied enough to give me a wide range of treatment experience. I also worked with curators to develop treatment plans and completed detailed photo documentation and treatment reports. Justin Johnson was a wonderful instructor, and the other staff at the Conservation Center were a joy to work with. I am leaving with new skills and the confidence that I will be prepared for future graduate studies in book conservation.

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Christine Manwiller is from northwestern Wisconsin and received her BA with Honors in Art History with minors in Studio Art and Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. She has studied abroad extensively, including programs in Peru, the Orkney Islands, and Italy where she completed the one-year Certificate in Art Conservation program at the Lorenzo de Medici Institute. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Center for the Book, graduating with distinction with focuses in bookbinding and calligraphy. Her calligraphy has been featured in the national publication for calligraphy: Letter Arts Review and her artist books are in collections at the University of Washington and the University of Iowa. She also worked as a student lab technician at the University of Iowa Libraries Conservation Lab and as an intern in the Yale University Library Conservation Lab. She is a Mellon Fellow in Library and Archives Conservation at the Patricia H. & Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department at SUNY Buffalo State, Class of 2021. She will complete her third-year internship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

 

2016 Intern, Sara Belasco

Sara Belasco

I am so grateful to have worked in the Conservation Center’s beautiful new space. My projects were tailored to the kinds of books I wanted to treat and my goals for progression by the end of the summer. In total I treated eight books and made two historical models, learning about different methods of board reattachment, leather rebacking, and limp vellum structures.  In addition to treatment, I gained experience in working with a curator to develop a treatment plan and proper documentation. After this summer I have a much more well-rounded understanding of problems specific to the treatment of rare books, as well as feeling much more prepared to enter a graduate program for conservation in the future.

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Sara Belasco is from New York City, NY and earned a B.A. with Honors in Art History and a minor in Studio Art from Skidmore College. She has completed conservation internships at the Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Library & Museum, and New-York Historical Society. Sara is currently taking additional chemistry and German classes in preparation for applying to graduate school this Fall and has returned to her internship at the American Museum of Natural History Library.

 

2015 Intern, Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith, conservation intern

I feel very fortunate to have worked as a conservation intern at the UW Libraries. During my ten weeks here, I was able to complete six full treatments and all of these items are now available for use by professors as teaching tools for their students. The projects selected for me were varied enough to expose me to a wide array of treatment methods while reinforcing the foundational skills I need in order to become a book conservator. I feel more confident entering my graduate program this fall with the experience that I have gained during this internship. I had not performed any treatments on antiquarian books bound in leather or vellum before this summer and I was happy to fill this gap in my knowledge. I even got to work on an illuminated manuscript! This was an invaluable opportunity for me.

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Michelle C. Smith is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She received a BFA in printmaking and book arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design and completed pre-program conservation internships at Emory Libraries, the Georgia Archives, and University of Washington Libraries. She received her MA and CAS in art conservation from Buffalo State College in 2018, where she was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Library and Archives Conservation. She completed graduate conservation internships at the University of Michigan Library (where she was a 2016 Cathleen A. Baker Fellow in Conservation) and the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, and she spent her third-year internship at Stanford Libraries. She was Assistant Paper and Book Conservator at Preservation Arts in Oakland, and she is currently the Kress Assistant Conservator at UCLA Library in Los Angeles. Michelle enjoys letterpress printing and flying trapeze, and she once made a book entirely out of vegetables.

 

2014 Intern, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Curran

Lizzie Curran, intern

As the University of Washington Libraries’ first summer Conservation Intern, I have been working on volumes from the Libraries’ Special Collections under the supervision of Senior Conservator, Justin Johnson. When tackling challenging projects, Justin’s mentorship has made it possible for me to feel confident in my decision-making process while still receiving his expert guidance. From the very beginning of my 10 week internship, I learned numerous repair methods and was able to put them directly into practice. The tools and materials available in the Conservation Lab made it possible to perform complex and delicate repairs to valuable items in the collection, like washing and rebinding entire books, or executing an archival spine repair that blends in seamlessly with the original material. In addition to the hands-on skills, I’ve learned about the important work of conservation away from the bench: consulting with curators and colleagues, photo documentation, and developing treatment proposals and reports.

My knowledge base and hand skills have improved greatly due to the opportunity I have been granted at UW. Not only are the Suzzallo and Allen Libraries a beautiful place to work every day, but they have also proven to be a lively environment with an interesting and well-cared-for collection. I feel lucky to have been able to handle and repair everything from Gothic bindings to original Kelmscott Press books.

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Lizzie Curran is from Concord, Massachusetts and earned a B.A. in Studio Art from Bennington College and a diploma in Bookbinding from North Bennet Street School. She has completed book conservation internships at Dartmouth College and the University of Washington. Lizzie has exhibited with and is a member of the New England chapter of the Guild of Book Workers, as well as serving on the GBW board as Exhibitions Chair.  She is currently the Assistant Conservator at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.