Senior conservator and conservation facility in Suzzallo Library

Justin Johnson senior conservator


Libraries Conservation

Conservation supports a central mission of the Libraries in providing stewardship and access to its collections and complements commercial binding, preservation replacement and other preservation services to provide the most appropriate preservation treatment for materials.

Each year, Libraries Mendery staff repair, bind or make enclosures for 10,000-12,000 items in the Libraries. This care helps to preserve, stabilize or restore the usability of book and paper materials. Recent projects.

    Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant

    Many projects we've had to turn away in the past will now be possible, thanks to a $1.25 million challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in October 2012. The Mellon grant comprises $1,000,000 as a permanent endowment and $250,000 to establish the new position.

    Libraries Senior Conservator

    After a nationwide search, we were fortunate to recruit Justin Johnson, formerly Book Conservator at the Huntington Library in California. Johnson was appointed the Libraries Senior Conservator in Preservation Services in September 2013. He has studied bookbinding and conservation internationally. He received graduate certification in the Conservation of Library and Archive Materials from West Dean College (Chichester, U.K.) and the University of Sussex (Portsmouth, U.K.) and recently completed a ten-week residency at the British Library.

    The Senior Conservator provides extensive knowledge of book and paper conservation practices, conservation science, and the history of bookbinding and papermaking as well as exceptional manual skills to ethically treat items of great intellectual, artifactual, and monetary value.

    Libraries Conservation Facility

    A 4,000 square-foot facility with a state-of-the-art ventilation system will be created from an existing storage room in Suzzallo Library. The new conservation facility will dramatically increase the Libraries capacity to care for the fragile rare books, manuscripts, maps, and drawings in Special Collections, by allowing the Libraries to perform more complicated conservation treatments in-house.

    Regional Outreach and Education

    The Senior Conservator and Conservation Facility will also expand the Libraries education and outreach efforts, and be a regional resource as we build on partnerships with other libraries, archives, and museums in the Pacific Northwest, and it will help train the next generation of conservators – at the University of Washington and beyond.

    Remaining Funding

    The Libraries has until October 2017 to match the remaining $233,000 to fund a Senior Conservator position permanently and build out the conservation facility.

    Based on pre-design estimates and anticipated design and physical plant changes, the cost of renovating the 4,000+ square feet to create a state-of-the art conservation lab on the fifth floor of Suzzallo and Allen Libraries is $3 million. The naming opportunity for the lab is at $2.5 million. Contact Sheryl Stiefel, Libraries director for advancement, for more information.