Preservation Matters! with Steve Berry

Author Steve BerryPreservation Matters!
Stories of Disaster Response and Recovery

 Smithsonian Institution
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Ave. SW

 Wednesday April 24, 2013

 Noon – 4:30 pm

*PLEASE RSVP to or 202.633.1699* 

The Smithsonian Libraries is committed to the preservation, safe exhibition and long-term access to its collections, many of which are irreplaceable. The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to host this event in conjunction with the American Library Association’s National Preservation Week (April 21-27).

From superstorms to blizzards to tornados to wildfires, America has frequently shuddered under the onslaught of natural disasters. “Why Preserving History Matters” against the threat of catastrophe will be the focus of the keynote lecture by New York Times and internationally bestselling author Steve Berry, who returns April 24, 2013 as  national spokesperson for the American Library Association’s Second Annual National Preservation Week.

A devoted student of history, Berry and his wife, Elizabeth, founded History Matters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding the preservation of the fragile reminders of our past. Since then, they have traveled the world raising much-needed funds for a wide range of historic preservation projects. In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Mr. Berry noted, “What are we losing when that [on being told of the rapid loss of our historical record] happens? We’re losing windows to the past, thoughts to the past and ideas to the past, and that really affected me.”

Free and open to the public, the lectures and share fair will feature presentations and discussions on disaster response, pest management and archives preservation by preservation specialists, conservators and librarians from federal and local organizations. 


Noon: Why Preserving History Matters  (All lectures will be in the Lecture Hall)
By National Preservation Week Spokesman Steve Berry

Disintegrating cemeteries, decaying buildings, tattered flags—Steve Berry has come to the aid of numerous organizations hoping to save their endangered historic treasures. Drawing on his personal experiences and exhaustive research, Berry will discuss the importance of preservation and why these objects are an important link to who we are and who we may become as people and as a nation.

1:00 pm: To Preserve and Protect

By Jeanne Drewes, Chief of Binding and Collections Care in the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress

As natural disasters have taught the pre-eminent cultural institutions of nations, priceless treasures and resources become jeopardized. Learn what action you can take to reduce the risk of loss to personal, family and community collections. Action taken now can prevent loss in the future.

1:30 pm: To Catch a Thief: Recovering the Durham First Folio

By Folger Conservator Renate Mesmer and former Folger Curator of Books Steven Galbraith

In 1998 a copy of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s works (1623) was stolen from Durham University in England. Ten years later this treasured book ended up under mysterious circumstances at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. Hear about the events surrounding the reappearance, identification, and return of the Durham First Folio.

2:00 pm: Lessons Learned: Fire at Fort Belvoir Library

By Tuke Klemmt, Reference Librarian at the Defense Acquisition University Knowledge Repository & Acker Library

Four million gallons of water, 15 fire trucks, 140 firefighters, and a 90-year-old timber roof that caught a welder’s spark—catastrophic ingredients for the Defense Acquisition University’s Knowledge Repository & Acker Library at Fort Belvoir, Virginia on August 13, 2012. Ultimately, one-third of the collection was salvaged due to the efforts of many.

2:30 – 4:30 pm          Preservation Share Fair in Ripley Center Quadrangle

Table 1: Pest Management: Vanessa Haight Smith, Supervisory Conservator, Smithsonian Libraries

Table 2: Water Disasters: Jane Long, Preservation Program Officer, and Lisa Isbell, Senior Conservator, National Archives and Records Administration Preservation Program

Table 3: Archives Preservation: Sarah Stauderman, Collections Care Manager & Nora Lockshin, Paper Conservator, Smithsonian Institution Archives

Table 4: Haiti Recovery Project: Rosemary Fallon, Paper Conservator, Lunder Conservation Center, National Portrait Gallery                  

Table 5: Preservation Resources from the Smithsonian, American Institute for Conservation, Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and Association for Library Collections and Technical Services.                  

 *Entrance is between the Smithsonian Castle and the Freer Gallery of Art