Making sure our collections are properly described, housed, and discoverable is an ongoing task in Special Collections. As time goes on, the boxes, folders, and other packing materials we use to store collections wear out or become acidic, and collections require new storage options for their continued preservation.
Scherenschnitte, meaning “scissor cuts” in German, is the art of paper cutting. The designs are frequently symmetrical, and are often used to create silhouettes and valentines. This European tradition was developed in sixteenth century Switzerland and Germany, and immigrants brought the designs to Colonial America in the eighteenth century. Paper cutting traditions also exist in many other cultures. For example, China’s paper cutting techniques, perhaps the world’s oldest, date from the sixth century.