– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

conservation survey completed

We have just finished the last session of the manuscripts condition survey! 500 items spanning a millennium (10th-20th centuries), mostly codex format (i.e. books), mostly western European, mostly medieval, individually surveyed between mid-January and the end of July.

Only 40 are in poor physical condition, and only 6 are currently unusable – that is, any handling would cause further damage. The rest are in fair to good condition, and a number of those in poor condition require fairly straightforward repairs that will make them safe to handle (with care, of course).

It’s been a fascinating once-in-a-career journey through every single manuscript in the collection, and there are still many blog posts to come about our explorations and discoveries. The survey will inform not only future schedules for MS repairs starting this year, but also loans, exhibitions (it will itself be the subject of an exhibition), photography, outreach & teaching, further cataloguing/description…

Many MANY thanks to our wonderful team of professional conservators at the Oxford Conservation Consortium just down the road!

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