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Employee Spotlight: Jennifer Eggleston, Conservation Technician

by UL&LS Administration on 2018-08-31T10:16:00-06:00 | Comments


A box is just not a box.  If you open one up, you will see how it is specially designed for each object.”

-A quote by Jennifer E.

The Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections is renowned for its historical manuscripts, books, photographs, architectural drawings, and other library materials relating to New Mexico, the Southwestern U.S, and Latin America.  On any given day, many individuals (students, scholars, community members, etc.) are in the Anderson reading room studying and working with materials from the Center’s vast collection.  The preservation of these items and ensuring that they continue to be available to future researchers is always a priority.  As a Conservation Technician in the Center, Jennifer Eggleston plays a key role in this process, and in doing so, she contributes to the Center’s overall mission of preservation and engagement.


Jennifer began working as a Conservation Technician in the Center in February of this year (2018).  Although she is new to this staff position, Jennifer is not new to the Center or the field of conservation and preservation.  Rather, Jennifer initially started working for the Center in early 2015 as a student employee.  Specifically, she worked as a Preservation Assistant while taking classes for her Bachelors of Arts degree in Anthropology, with a minor in Museum Studies.  In that role, Jennifer became familiar with archival materials and methods and the importance of handling rare and fragile items with care and detail.  One of her primary responsibilities was to make custom enclosures for collection items; this included clamshell boxes, four-flap boxes, Mylar encapsulations, and dust jackets. (See “Examples of Jennifer’s Work” below.)  In time, she began to take on additional duties, including minor repair and restoration and documenting and writing condition reports for items going out on loan.  She also received further instruction and training on proper preservation techniques and theory.


During her time with the Center, Jennifer has helped design, construct, and display items for a number of library lectures and shows, including the Willard Lecture Series’ displays, Route 66 exhibit, and the LOBOMANIA! exhibit.  While assisting with these projects, Jennifer’s responsibilities have been quite diverse.  For instance, she has conducted research, retrieved items, built stands, book cradles and back drops, as well as helping with the layout and final design of the exhibit.  Some of the items that she has worked with are uniquely shaped, and this has enabled her to apply her creativity and come up with individual solutions to displaying and preserving them.  In fact, one of the reasons she enjoys working in the Center so much is the ability to keep a sense of creativity in the work that she does.  That – along with amazing special collections, awesome co-workers, and a beautiful campus – make for an overall great working experience according to Jennifer. 


Jennifer is currently a graduate student in the Museum Studies M.A. Program, and she has found that the program has been quite helpful with her work in the Center.  She has already taken a number of classes including the following:  Conservation Practice, Archival Practice, Museum Exhibit Design, and Museum Interpretation.  The knowledge and skills learned in these classes have been quite applicable to all that she does in the Center on any given day.


Examples of Jennifer’s Work


1. William Whipple Collection

Jennifer had the opportunity to work on the William Whipple Collection, which is a collection of military journals, account ledgers, maps, correspondence, personal papers, etc. of U.S. Army Major General William Denison Whipple.  The following pictures detail her work on the project:

These items are part of the William Whipple Collection, MSS 950 BC.

These items are part of the William Whipple Collections, MSS 950 BC.


2. Jaw Gaw Meem Items

Jennifer’s work on the Jaw Gaw Meem items are a great example of designing for uniquely shaped objects. 

These items are part of UNMA 012-UNM Historic Preservation Committee Collection,

Series 2, Box 1. Hokona Hall, Aluminum Balustrade Decorative Art Pieces, 1956, designer John Gaw Meem.


Other interesting facts about Jennifer:

  • She is an Albuquerque native and loves New Mexico, the climate, and the mountains.
  • She loves to travel, but is always happy to come back home to Albuquerque.
  • In high school, she started working at Southwest Cornerhouse, a gallery and frame shop that her grandparents started in 1975.  She became the owner of the business in 1990 and continued to manage it until 2007.
  • She was a volunteer docent at the interpretive center of the Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological site in 2014.
  • She did a summer internship at Chaco Culture National Historic Park in 2015.

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