During Leila’s second to last week at the PMA she wanted to take a trip to DC to visit some conservators at the Library of Congress and National Gallery. Even though I had just been to the NGA in May, everyone there was so great that I couldn’t resist tagging along with Leila on her tour. It was also helpful that I could drive us because Amtrak is too expensive and Megabus only has a handful of trips each day.
We started our day early, leaving at 6 am, in order to beat traffic and make it to the Library of Congress at 10 am. Sylvia Albro was a wonderful tour guide, taking us through the conservation department and introducing us to everyone along the way. I was surprised how large the department is, and what a huge collection the library maintains–and it’s all available to the public! We were able to see the breadth of the collection just in the conservation labs, everything from books and manuscripts to maps, photographs, and prints. Heather Wanser was working on a series of Yokohama prints just like the ones we have been preparing for exhibition at the PMA. I also met Eliza Spaulding, who was busy reducing stains in a photograph; Eliza will be the Mellon Fellow in paper conservation at the PMA beginning this fall, which means that I will have lots of time to get to know her. I can’t wait!
Unfortunately, our tour ended abruptly as I remembered our nearly expired parking meter, but we did make it back to the library’s cafeteria for lunch and then on to the Jefferson building to enjoy the amazing architecture and peek into the current exhibitions. Thanks to Sylvia for her warm welcome!