The Heritage Science for Conservation (HSC) Laboratory conducts research at the intersection of science and art.

The conservation and preservation of books and paper requires knowledge of the materials used, how that material might degrade with time, and treatments that might be used to mitigate or fix damage to the material. The Heritage Science for Conservation (HSC) program brings scientists/engineers and book and paper conservators into the same laboratory to:

  • conduct research into heritage materials including paper, parchment, adhesives, polymers, inks, sizing, bindings, and leather
  • evaluate products and processes currently used by conservators
  • train engineers, scientists, and conservators in conservation science
An HSC fellow uses a machine to analyze paper

To accomplish this mission, HSC partners with other academic laboratories, peer cultural heritage institutions, and industry. HSC disseminates the results to conservation, library, industrial, scientific, and engineering audiences.

The HSC program is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Work Space

HSC’s facilities include a TAPPI room and a photo documentation and microscopy room. The TAPPI room maintains constant temperature and humidity and is essential for the measurement of the properties of paper.


Gel Permeation Chromatography

Shimadzu Prominence GPC equipped with LC-20AT pump and CBM-20Alite controller

  • Detectors: Refractive Index Detector for Shimadzu HPLC Systems RID-10A
  • UV-VIS detector Shimadzu SPD-20A
  • Columns: one Waters Styragel HR 4 and one Waters Styragel HR 5 in series

FT-IR Spectrometer

ALPHA FT-IR Spectrometer equipped with either:

  • Platinum-ATR (Attenuated Total Reflectance) module
  • External Reflection module

Zeiss Axiolmager M1 Compound Microscope

Biolin Scientific Sigma 701 Force Tensiometer

  • Platinum Wilhelmy Plate
  • Powder Wettability holder

Mechanical Properties Testers

  • Elmendorf Tear Strength Tester
  • TAPPI Standards Tensile Tester (TMI Testometric M100-1CT with an attachment for Tack Testing)
  • MIT Folding Endurance Tester

Spectrophotometer (a.k.a. colorimeter )

  • Konica Minolta CM-700d
  • Glass bulb electrode (for solution analyses)
  • Flat electrode (for surface analyses)


Fisher Scientific™ Accumet™ Excel XL20 pH/ mV/ Temperature/ Conductivity/ Resistivity Meters, equipped with either:

  • Conductivity/TDS Meter
  • Oakton CON 6/TDS 6

Conductivity/TDS Meter

Oakton CON 6/TDS 6

Thermohygrometer with Fixed Probe

Markson Testo 615

Moisture-Meter Electrode

Delmhorst Blade-type Electrode

Static Oven

Fisher Scientific™ Isotemp™ Standard Lab Oven

Humid Oven

SPX TPS Lunaire Steady state/Stability Test Chanber, mod. CEO910-4

Forced Air Lab Oven

Cascade TEK 3.2 cubic ft

Analytical Balances

  • Mettler Toledo MS104S/03, max = 120.0000 g ± 0.0001 g
  • Ohaus ScoutPro SP402, max = 400.00 g ± 0.01 g
  • Mettler Toledo ML 203T, max = 220 g

Dry-Bath Incubators

Fisher Scientific™ Isotemp™ Digital Dry Bath Incubator mod 2001

Ultrasonic Cleaner

VWR® symphony™ Ultrasonic Cleaner with Digital Timer, 1.9 L (0.5 gal.)


RevSpin Microcentrifuge RS-200

Staff Directory

Name Contact Location Subject Areas
McGuiggan, Patricia
Associate Research Professor
Milton S. Eisenhower Library