Mrs Birkbeck’s Album and Reception

This post was contributed by Lynette Spencer, an alumna of Birkbeck’s BA French Studies (2001) and MA Modern French Studies (2003).

It was a memorable evening at the Alumni event ‘Mrs Birkbeck’s Album’ held on 17th May in the beautifully restored Keynes Library at 43, Gordon Square.

The first part of the presentation by Patrizia di Bello consisted of a fascinating insight into the background, culture and history associated with the contents of the album. Inside are manuscripts, poems, songs, pictures and paintings by famous people of the period.  Having such entries was considered prestigious and also formed a part of the social interaction at that time.

The second part by Philip Payne, Director of the Library and Media Services, explained the process of digitization of the album (prior to the restoration) which can now be read on-line, with the facility to turn the pages as if reading a book.

Finally, we were given an in-depth account by Angela Craft (Conservator in Special Collections Team at Senate House) of the restoration of the album, the decisions that needed to be negotiated and made, the materials to be used, all of which involved a delicate balancing act.

One of the highlights of the evening was to personally experience the original album and other items, being able to view and read the contents on display at the event.

The presenters and the Alumni staff organised a most original as well as enlightening event where alumni members were also thanked for contributing towards the restoration through their library membership fees.  I must say, in may ways I prefer this more creative form of ‘blog’ to its present day counterpart!

 

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