CCAHA News & Events
Treatment Focus: Suffolk County Historical Society's "Pickle Book"

At CCAHA, we often find that the stories behind the objects we treat are as interesting as the objects themselves. Such was the case with a recent treatment from the Suffolk County Historical Society of Long Island, New York. The Historical Society had a scrapbook of documents that was referred to as the “pickle book” due to its distinctive odor.

The volume contained a collection of documents dating from the mid-17th-mid-19th century; the wills, administrative orders, deeds, and bills of sale of some of the early residents of the colonial settlements on the Island’s North Fork. Within the spiral-bound scrapbook, the documents were encapsulated in cellulose acetate enclosures alongside their 1960s-era transcripts, and attached to a black paper backing within plastic sleeves.

When the scrapbook was brought to CCAHA, the plastic sleeves and enclosures were brittle and shrinking, exhibiting cockling and warping. Offgassing acetic acid had produced a strong vinegar odor and clear crystals had accumulated on the majority of the pages—deterioration resulting from the cellulose acetate sleeves. It was this vinegar odor that had helped the "pickle book" earn its nickname.

Collections Care Training Series Announced

Every year, CCAHA offers a series of workshops to provide training in a variety of collections care activities in the Philadelphia area. The workshops are intended for librarians, archivists, curators, stewards of historic house museums, records managers, and other staff who have responsibility for cultural collections. This year's offerings include Disaster Response and Recovery; Introduction to Digitization; Identification and Preservation of Architectural Drawings; Matting and Framing for Preservation; and Identification and Preservation of Prints. Registration is open for all of the programs. Click here to view CCAHA's Education Program Calendar and register.

Major funding for these programs is generously provided by the William Penn Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, with additional support from Independence Foundation, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
CCAHA in the News

The Aspen Historical Society (AHS) is blogging about the conservation of a large crayon portrait from their collection. The portrait depicts Mary Ella Stallard (1866-1951), who lived several decades in the house that now serves as AHS's Wheeler/Stallard Museum.

DHPSNY Podcast

The Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services for New York (DHPSNY) program at CCAHA recently launched a podcast, taking listeners behind the scenes across New York State as the DHPSNY team conducts assessments and teaches workshops. Their first installment discusses the preservation survey they conducted for the Carousel Society of the Niagra Frontier. Click here to listen.
CCAHA's Regional Heritage Stewardship Program

Building upon past success in education and network-building, CCAHA is leading a set of ambitious strategies to aid underserved regions of the country, adapting successful service models to assist collecting institutions along the Eastern Gulf Coast and in Appalachia.

CCAHA Director of Preservation Services Dyani Feige will attend the West Virginia Association of Museums Annual Conference in Charleston, WV, on March 22-24. Several workshops for the Eastern Gulf Coast (AL, MS, and the FL Panhandle) have been announced on preservation planning, environmental management, and emergency planning and response.

Upcoming Programming
Collections Care Training

May 16
Mercer Museum, PA

Thoughtful preparation for an emergency or disaster is one of the most important steps that a cultural institution can take to safeguard collections. This program will increase practical knowledge through hands-on salvage of a simulated disaster. Participants will use the Incident Command System while learning to salvage a variety of materials. Personal safety, initial site assessment, object triage and tracking, and post-disaster debriefing will also be addressed.
Regional Heritage Stewardship Program

Works h op V: Preservation Planning and Environmental Management

A Preservation Plan is an essential institutional document that helps collections care professionals thoughtfully and carefully chart a course for the preservation of their artifacts for five to ten years. In this workshop, the speaker will provide guidance on how to create a Preservation Plan. Participants will have the opportunity to explore sample Plans as well as practice creating goals, objectives, and strategies to make an effective Plan.

In the afternoon, participants will learn about collections environments and how to manage conditions to be appropriate for the long-term preservation of artifacts. The speaker will discuss temperature, relative humidity, light, pests, mold, and housekeeping, and discuss how they can affect collections care.
Regional Heritage Stewardship Program

Workshop VI: Emergency Planning and Response

The creation of an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan is vital to the survival of an institution’s artifacts. In this workshop, participants will learn about tools for developing an Emergency Response and Preparedness Plan and the basics of collections salvage. There will be an opportunity to practice hands-on salvage procedures by rescuing a variety of materials from water.

In addition to learning the terminology of emergency planning, the basic components of an emergency preparedness and response plan, and salvage techniques, participants will also learn how to train their staff and fellow employees to ensure that in the event of an emergency, the Plan is followed and the response is efficient and effective.
Collections Care Training

June 27
Bryn Mawr College Special Collections, PA

Digitization can be the final step in processing collections, facilitating access, and even aiding in collections’ long-term preservation. Like other collections care endeavors, digitization should not be undertaken without an understanding of best practices, safe techniques, and the knowledge to make appropriate decisions. This workshop will provide a basic overview of establishing policies, prioritization and selection criteria, equipment options, handling practices for scanning or photographing, storage concerns, and other considerations in digital preservation.
Upcoming Grant Opportunities

A preservation needs assessment is a key first step in the process of caring for collections. In addition to pinpointing areas of concern, the preservation needs assessment is widely recognized as a valuable tool in fundraising. Many funders strongly recommend that potential applicants cite the findings of these assessments within their grant applications for conservation and preservation projects.

Through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, CCAHA is able to offer a limited number of subsidized preservation needs assessments.

Applications must be emailed or postmarked by this Friday, March 16.

An Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan is an integral part of a comprehensive Preservation Program. The preparation and continued updating of a plan has several benefits including identification of areas of risk and hazards, establishment of procedures and systems to mitigate potential risks, determination of collections priorities, and development of procedures for quick response to limit damage to collections. 

Through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, CCAHA is able to offer a limited number of subsidized risk assessments.

Applications must be emailed or postmarked by this Friday, March 16.
Upcoming LYRASIS Programs 
In 2016, CCAHA and LYRASIS partnered to increase their constituents’ access to vital services. CCAHA members receive a discount on LYRASIS programming. In addition, the organizations offer combined consulting for cultural heritage organizations. 
The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) is a nonprofit conservation facility specializing in the treatment of works on paper, photographs, and books through conservation and state-of-the-art digital imaging services. Founded in 1977, CCAHA serves collecting institutions and private individuals. CCAHA’s preservation services staff present educational programs, conduct preservation assessments, and develop emergency preparedness plans. CCAHA also offers fellowships, fundraising support, and disaster assistance.