Public Engagement with Conservation at the British Library
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CitationShenton, Helen. 2008. Public engagement with conservation at the British library. In Conservation and access: Contributions to the London Congress 15-19 September 2008, ed. D. Saunders, J. Townsend, S. Woodcock, International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 130-135. London: International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.
AbstractThe new Centre for Conservation at the British Library (BL) opened
in London in 2007. It comprises state-of-the-art book conservation
studios and sound preservation facilities, inextricably intertwined with an ambitious training and public outreach programme, all housed together in a beautiful, purpose-built, multi-million pound building next to the new Eurostar station at St Pancras in London.
It is the only such centre to focus on the conservation of books and the
preservation of sound. The presentation of the conservation of the BL’s
holdings of the world’s cultural heritage and the public programmes were
integral to the fundamental ideas behind the building, designed in from
the earliest stages of the project.
The paper describes the thinking behind this development and assesses
the public engagement with conservation a year after the new building
opened. The public programmes include a permanent, free exhibition on
conservation and decision making at the entrance to the new conservation
centre, linked to the rotation of iconic collection items within the BL’s Treasures Gallery. There are free, behind-the-scenes tours of the conservation studios for the public as well as demonstrations, workshops and talks to widen public access to the activities and concepts behind caring for the British Library’s vast collections.
These developments at the British Library are considered in the wider
context of trends in presenting cultural heritage. The paper concludes
with developments in how conservation is contributing to international
engagement and cultural diplomacy.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3988576
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