Summer at the Museums – guest post by Vasiliki Vartholomeou

We have come to the end of the Summer At The Museums, a series of exciting events for families during the summer holidays. After the success of Twilight In The Museums, a tour of the Historical Printing Room and potato-print making, the UL successfully organised a bookbinding and parchment-shrinking drop in.

The library was buzzing with fun activities to entertain all during the summer holidays.

The event included various staff from different departments of the library, with the Conservation and Collection Care department hands-on at the parchment-shrinking stall.


Our first stall was “Build your own book”, a gentle introduction to the art of bookbinding and the materials used. Children and parents were shown a basic technique on how to make a small notebook with just thread and folded paper. The Conservation and Collection Care department also provided marbled paper, paper coloured by combining oil-based inks to create a “marbled effect”.  At the event we had the star of the show, our very own finishing press, designed to clamp books in place. The event also featured an informative poster about bookbinding equipment and techniques in bookbinding.

The second stall showed how parchment shrinks when exposed to water and heat. The children were invited to write on the parchment, which was then placed in water and ironed to show the detrimental effects of moisture and heat on parchment.

The event was an enjoyable part of our efforts to reach a wider audience and connect with the local community – sparked by the end of the University Library’s 600th anniversary year.

Keep an eye out for our next events during Open Cambridge this weekend (8-9 September) and the Festival of Ideas (16-29 October).

Guest post by Vasiliki Vartholomaiou.

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