Special Collections Exhibits and Opportunities for a Book Conservator

  • Bill Minter Senior Book Conservator, Penn State University Libraries


As conservators, we are called upon to treat items for exhibitions. In some cases, we are the exhibits preparator and we might also be involved with the exhibit design. Fortunately, colleagues in The Eberly Family Special Collections Library at The Pennsylvania State University Libraries (aka Penn State University) have asked for assistance with their recent exhibits. These were great opportunities to expand our use of various materials for exhibit preparation and to also explore collaborations with other university departments.
Perhaps the most interesting project was the preparation of an exhibit of 17th thru 19th century toys. One 19th century book, Stuwwelpeter, also known as Shockheaded Peter was to be displayed. While static images from the book could have been displayed, the exhibit visitor would miss the impact of pulling on the tab to experience the resulting image movement in these unique early books. We therefore turned to the University’s Center for Quantitative Imaging where a page was examined with x-rays.  The resulting images allowed us to determine the inner workings and the linkages that were used. An oversized digital facsimile was produced and this added to the interest and experience for the visitors. Other unique opportunities for collaboration between conservation and exhibits will be shared, such as the digital facsimiles of World War I glass stereo slides and another on “Flying Folios”, as well as others.
Click on Video link on the right to view presentation.

Author Biography

Bill Minter, Senior Book Conservator, Penn State University Libraries
William ‘Bill’ Minter began his career as the editor, writer and photographer for the employee magazine of a large Chicago based printing company. Shortly thereafter he met Bill Anthony, noted fine-bookbinder and book conservator, who became his immediate supervisor. And within a short time, the young Bill began a seven-year apprenticeship with the master-binder. In 1978, Bill started his own book conservation practice in Chicago and later moved to Pennsylvania. In 2014, Bill accepted a position as senior book conservator at the Penn State University Libraries. Bill is known for his inventive character with many different items to his credit—most notable is the ultrasonic welder for polyester film encapsulation.
How to Cite
MINTER, Bill. Special Collections Exhibits and Opportunities for a Book Conservator. Selected Proceedings of Advances in Conservation, [S.l.], nov. 2017. Available at: <https://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/waac/article/view/4016>. Date accessed: 10 dec. 2023.