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Craig Preservation Lab

Custom Enclosure for Seed Collection

In the paper conservation lab we make enclosures too. As you’d guess, they are usually for flat paper items: letters, manuscripts, photos, etc., but not always. Earlier this year we treated an unusual collection from IU Archives—various seeds from around the world that were part of former botany professor Charles B. Heiser’s research. Included in the collection were sheets of gourd seeds native to different regions around the world and a vial of heirloom tobacco seeds from the 1600s. (Yes, we daydreamed about planting some.)

The first order of business was to reattach loose gourd seeds back in their appropriate location. Crash course in seed identification! Luckily there was a grainy, black and white photocopy of the original seed arrangement to use as a key.

Then I made trays for each sheet with a mat board bottom and foam core walls.

And they all fit into a cloth-covered clamshell box with a French tray base.

A small corrugated box was made for the other seeds in envelopes and the vial of tobacco seeds.

 Gourd seeds neatly displayed in trays
 gourd seed trays placed into clamshell-style box
 box holding envelopes of additional seeds

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