As a museum person / historian, I’m interested in preserving and interpreting historic items of all types. The “old stuff”, is, after all, an actual piece of the past that we can’t replace. If we lose an artifact, we can’t get it back. People want to experience something real, and historic artifacts are, in fact, real.
But sometimes reproductions are a good substitute. After all, it’s not just age or interpretation that makes something important; sometimes the content also needs to shine.
Here’s a good example (or so I like to think):
The Des Moines University Library recently received a donation of over one hundred reprinted texts from the Classics of Medicine collection. Sold as a subscription, collectors receive beautifully reproduced editions of famous medical texts spanning centuries. Even though the Rare Book Room is proud to own a few original copies of these texts, the reproductions provide an opportunity for students and library visitors to sit down and read these classics without having to worry about their condition or security.
The collection was recently featured in an issue of DMU Magazine; check it out and ogle the beautiful photo we had taken of some of the volumes.
Reproductions is a big topic and I know I/we’ll be covering it in the future. But, I thought I would get the ball rolling with some reprints of historic books. What sort of reproduction items do you work with?