Conservational measures for the book collection in the rooms of the Brecht-Weigel Museum

Project duration: April 2018 – April 2019

Stefan T. Possony, Strategic Air Power. The Pattern of Dynamic Security. Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1949

In spring 2018, a concerted action was undertaken to clean and secure the 5,600-volume holdings of the bequest libraries of Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel. On that occasion, a total of 247 protective sleeves were removed. The protective sleeves displayed substantial mechanical defects such as compressions, creases, tears at the edges of pages and flaws in the paper caused by usage, transport and moving of the books as well as the process ageing. The aim of restoring the sleeves was to improve the overall appearance of the two book collections, which are presented as reference libraries in the Brecht-Weigel Museum.

In the restoration workshop of the Akademie der Künste Berlin, sample and test restorations were carried out in order to establish suitable methods for cleaning, smoothing, closing tears and repairing flaws. Because protective sleeves have a particular typographical design, illustration and colour scheme, the restoration objectives were established for the book collection as a whole.
The book sleeves had to be cleaned in a dry state. In a next step, compressions and creases had to be reduced and loose fragments secured. Furthermore, tears had to be repaired and any existing flaws had to be filled with the matching colour.

After funds were granted from the Special Programme of the German Federal Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs for the Preservation of Written Cultural Heritage, external restoration experts were commissioned with the restoration of the protective sleeves.
The 247 protective sleeves have now been successfully restored. During the first quarter of 2019, preservation and conservation staff returned the books to the holdings.

Project management: Cornelia Hanke, Elke Pfeil, Helgrid Streid
Project collaboration: Vendulka Cejchan, certified restorer Kornelia Lindner, restorer by trade

With funds from the 2018 BKM Special Programme for the Preservation of Written Cultural Heritage in Germany