Vanessa Haight Smith

Vanessa Haight Smith has served as a book conservator at the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives since 2006 where she treats rare and circulating books from over 20 libraries spread throughout the Institution.  She held the position as Head of Preservation Services for 12 years.  In addition, Vanessa prepares materials for exhibitions within the Libraries and for several years served as registrar for those items loaned to and from outside institutions.

Vanessa started her conservation career as an assistant  paintings conservator, a discipline inspired by her undergraduate studies in Art and Art History.  In 1999 Vanessa was hired by Princeton University Library where she prepared over one hundred exhibitions for the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. It was here she found her calling for a career with libraries.

Since 2011, she has served as adjunct professor for the Preservation Course at the Catholic University MSLIS program in Washington, D.C. 

Vanessa holds a post-graduate diploma and MA in Conservation from West Dean College, near Chichester, England.

Courses Previously Taught

The Power of Display: Books as Transformative Tools in Exhibitions, 2023