Wonderful Women Wednesday: Eliza Gilligan Lenz

Each week, the Archives features a woman who has been a groundbreaker at the Smithsonian, past or present, in a series titled Wonderful Women Wednesday.

Between 2003 and 2008, Eliza Gilligan Lenz was the head of preservation services at Smithsonian Libraries, now Smithsonian Libraries and Archives. There, she led preservation efforts in the organization’s then 20 branches regarding environmental standards, collections care, and exhibition and conservation treatments. Prior to her promotion, Gilligan had worked as a conservator at the Smithsonian Libraries since 2001. 

Before arriving at the Smithsonian, Lenz was a book conservator at Michigan State University and served as a Kress Fellow with the Northeast Document Conservation Center.

In 2009, she moved from the Smithsonian to the University of Virginia, where she was the conservator of university library collections until 2018. There, she shared her expertise in book and paper repair, collections care, exhibits, and digital services. 

Lenz earned her MLIS and Certificate of Advanced Study in the conservation of library and archival materials from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000. Between 2009 and 2011, she served as the president of the Washington Conservation Guild. 

Two women work in a lab. Gilligan is working closest to the camera and is looking directly into the

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