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Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Conservation Center> Preserving a 10th Century Codex; Saving a Jewish Family Heirloom; and More!
The Conservation Center
Conserving Art Coast to Coast
December 2014 Newsletter
all of us here at The Conservation Center warmly welcome the holiday
season this month, our December newsletter certainly follows the themes
of tradition, family, and religious observance. We want to share with
you possibly the oldest object we've ever treated to date: a 10th century
Greek Codex that predates The King James Bible and the printing press.
Both our paper and rare books conservators are excited to delve into
this project in the coming months. Additionally, we have a wonderful
story about a family heirloom--a Jewish wedding contract from the early
20th century. Found in shreds, we
were able to reconstruct the document, which ended up providing the
owner with new information regarding her ancestry and heritage. With
these stories and more, The Conservation Center would like to wish
everyone a safe and joyous holiday season!
Saving A 10th Century Greek Codex From Water Damage
After more than three
decades of preserving fine art and heirlooms at The Conservation Center,
we now have an impressive answer to one of the most frequently asked
questions by our clients and visitors: "What is the oldest piece that
The Center has ever conserved?" Recently, a 10th century Greek
Codex--which contains portions of the New Testament Gospels of Luke and
John--arrived at our conservation lab, and we, admittedly, are truly
impressed. This rare book belongs to Andrews University in Berrien
Springs, Michigan, a Bible-based university operated by the Seventh-day
Adventist Church. Conserving this rare volume will take more than 400
hours of work between our paper and rare books departments.
Piecing Back Together A Family Heirloom, and Learning About The Past
at The Conservation Center, we strive to protect and preserve objects
that hold intrinsic value to individuals and families, not just monetary
value. During the treatment process, we often uncover forgotten details
about a piece, and it can mean so much more to our clients when this
information relates to their own family members and heritage. In this
way, we approach each and every object with the highest level of care
and attention. Recently, Naomi Steinberg, an Associate Professor of
Religious Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, brought us a badly
torn ketubah that was believed to belong to her paternal grandparent's.
Our conservators were able to meticulously piece this document back
together, and through this process, Naomi also uncovered a slice of
a 10th century Codex arrived at The Conservation Center for treatment
earlier this year, we were all intrigued by the craftsmanship of this
rare volume. This surviving example of a medieval Christian text contains the Gospels of Luke and John. Apparently
these 37 leaves of vellum were found in an attic of an old house in
Constantinople--now Istanbul, Turkey--many years ago. Before treating
this book, we had to properly examine every page and determine the best
conservation method. So why not produce a stop-motion video that
showcases the Codex, cover to cover? Don't blink, cause you might miss a page! >
'Tis the Season to Eat, Drink, and Be Merry:
The Conservation Center's Holiday Celebration
and cheers were all around last Friday afternoon when The Conservation
Center celebrated the holidays at Soho House Chicago! More than 30
employees and additional guests enjoyed cocktails and a family style
luncheon at the private club's beautifully decked out Belt Room. Guests
feasted on featured lamb chops, salmon, and black truffle risotto,
amongst other delectable side dishes and dessert. Heather Becker, CEO of
The Center, thanked everyone for their hard work and dedication this
past year, and raised a glass to a prosperous year ahead.
The Conservation Center's Holiday Staff Art Contest
thrilled to announce the winner for our annual holiday art contest. For
the third year in a row, Alfredo Garcia took home the trophy with his
drawing for "feast," the theme and inspiration for this season. We also
want to congratulate our colleagues Mike Simi and Jesus Mejia who came
in second and third place, respectively. And of course, everyone is a
winner, so all three artists got a little somethin' extra for the
holidays just by participating!Take a look at the submissions >
More News From The Conservation Center
The Conservation Center Hosted The Chicago Area Conservation Group's Holiday Gathering
as they gathered for an evening of holiday celebration. More than 35
guests-including conservators from the Art Institute of Chicago, the
Chicago History Museum, and Northwestern University-toured our lab
spaces and enjoyed the company of The Center's staff. The CACG is an
organization for Chicago-area conservators and those in related
professions, including art conservators, library and archival
conservators, conservation technicians, conservation scientists, and
students and interns just entering the field. The CACG hosts regular
meetings, lab and museum tours, and other events. We were thrilled to
see our peers and many of our old friends!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
The Conservation Center will be closed for Christmas holiday (December 25 and 26), and New Year's holiday (January 1 and 2).