A Conservator Places History in a Bind

As a Library and Archives Conservator, Henry has found a mix of the art and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields allowing him to ensure research access to special collections through both conservation treatment and material analysis. Rather than working as a researcher himself, Henry’s job gives him the ability to work as a liaison between professionals and their research. This serves as an opportunity for him to see many aspects of different kinds of research; for example, the historical significance or scientific elements of artifacts in special collections. Henry’s career provides the opportunity for him to work with art and STEM elements, while also interacting with professionals in both the science and humanities fields.

Henry obtained an undergraduate degree in Studio Art and his passion for sculpture led him toward his current career path. The introduction of conservation as a potential career from a practicing Library and Archives Conservator allowed Henry to put his focus into obtaining a Master’s degree in Library Science, because this career provided a combination of his passion for art and the opportunity for him to work with professionals in many different fields. Henry recognizes a heavier presence of art in his current work from his training during his undergraduate work in Studio Art, and he is able to focus on the long-term presence of the STEM field since the science, equipment, and processes he uses on a daily basis are constantly changing with new developments and improvements. In addition, a contrast exists between the historical and scientific value in the items Henry works with daily, and he is able to combine these two elements in his work for color matching, chemical testing, and analytic investigation of materials.

When Henry is not working with library collections, he channels his creative energy into book-binding. He enjoys the STEM and art combination because he “kinda gets to use both sides of [his] brain.” In addition, Henry shares his technical skills of this passion by teaching others the art of book-binding.

Although it can be challenging to find a career involving both art and STEM fields, Henry has insightful advice about combining the two fields. He shared how it is important to follow your dreams, but it is equally important to do some really hard thinking about how you will find meaning in the day-to-day tasks of a particular job. Henry encourages those anticipating to enter this field to speak with professionals already in the field, ask hard questions to gain a better understanding of the lifestyles in these careers, and to be inspired by the possible combinations of art, science and technical skills.

 

 

Summer 2018

Torie Tracy

Wordsmith

The House for Proteges

Edited.

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