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"Wisdom of the Ages" - The Remnant Trust at Kansas State University Libraries

This guide describes the materials on exhibit in from the Remnant Trust's "Wisdom of the Ages" collection. We also provide information about handling materials and the history of written communication, books, printing, and publishing.

Handling Rare Materials

The video below featuring Mr. Bean demonstrates all of the ways you should not handle rare materials. Click on the image below to open the video in a new window.

Don't be Mr. Bean! Instead, see our helpful information below on how to properly handle rare materials in the exhibit and in library special collections.


Screenshot of Mr Bean Library destruction video

We are delighted that many of the materials in the exhibit and our special collections can be handled by visitors and researchers alike. We cherish these items both for the ideas they introduced and because the physical objects have endured for, in some cases, hundreds of years. 

To ensure that future generations can continue to experience the wonder of these items, we ask that you follow these guidelines when handling materials:

  • remove food and drink from the vicinity,
  • ensure that your hands are clean,
  • take notes with pencil or laptop,
  • take photos without a flash,
  • rest the book on the table to reduce the chance of accidentally dropping it,
  • open the book gently, do not force the book to lie flat as that may break the spine,
  • cradle or support the spine of the book to protect it from cracking,
  • turn the pages gently, remaining aware of any brittleness that may indicate the page will tear.

Always use your best judgment. If you are uncertain about how to handle a particular item, ask a library docent or staff member.

This video from the University of Edinburgh demonstrates handling procedures for their rare books and special collections materials. We do not have all of the materials, like pillows and page weights, for the Remnant Trust, but you can observe the care used in handling materials.  Click on the image below to open the video in a new window.

Screenshot from University of Edinburgh Guide to Handling Collections Material video