Welcome to the Gallery of Horrors! (Enter if you dare!)

Blogs across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blogathon in celebration of October’s American Archives Month. See additional posts from our other participating blogs, as well as related events and resources, on the Smithsonian’s Archives Month website.

These images have been collected over time at the Archives for our informal "Gallery of Horrors," for the education of our staff, interns and colleagues, and now you! These pictures do not express all the terrible things that happen to archival materials, but really represent a sampling and smattering, dare we say splattering, of Bad Things that Happen to Good Archives.  While the subject is presented in a light tone for Halloween 2012, we aim to seriously educate and amaze with up-close shots of damages done by the natural Enemies of Books, including people. We're not necessarily happy to say that we know this set will be added to over time, but hope most of that will come from our previously assembled study collection and not from new victims!


An upcoming post by Smithsonian Institution Archives conservation technician, Janelle Batkin-Hall, will focus on a particular group of archival materials that when in conjunction with inappropriate attachment methods and the passage of time, have sustained significant damage. Through the use of photographic documentation and a highlight of beneficial storage practices, this blog will provide examples of the adverse affects "bad things" have on archival materials AND good intentions.

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