The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently approved a $1.4 million grant to LYRASIS to improve preservation of significant photographic collections held in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This three-year project beginning in January 2011 will be conducted in partnership with the HBCU Library Alliance, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), University of Delaware Art Conservation Department, and Image Permanence Institute.
The goals of the project are to provide practical training in photograph preservation and environmental monitoring and control, stabilize at-risk photographic collections at HBCUs, and build local preservation capacity within HBCU institutions.
The current grant funds will support Round 2 of a Mellon-funded project that began in 2007. Round 1 included multiple training programs, conservation assessments, and funding for demonstration projects and environmental monitoring at ten HBCUs. “A grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation via LYRASIS funded the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Library Alliance Photographic Preservation initiative which gave our priceless collections the attention that they needed. Thank you for your continued interest in our progress. We also appreciate the Mellon Foundation for enabling us to concentrate on an area of deep concern—preservation,” said Jessie Carney Smith, Dean of the Library, Fisk University.
Specific objectives of Round 2 will be to:
- Survey photographic collections at all HBCUs to comprehensively assess condition significance, and preservation needs;
- Teach selected participants in the Round 1 and 2 projects to be effective trainers, so that they can serve as resources and provide training in photograph preservation to other HBCUS HBCUs during and after the Round 2 Project;
- Provide a symposium for 30 HBCUs on photograph preservation strategies and processes, project planning and management, and demonstration project opportunities;
- Through an application process, select ten HBCUs with significant, at-risk photographic collections to receive in-depth collection preservation consultations and funding for demonstration projects;
- Provide environmental monitoring consultations and equipment for the ten demonstration project sites;
- Support student internships for the demonstration projects, including a summer institute, to provide additional capacity for the participating HBCUs and to introduce HBCU undergraduates to studies and careers in conservation and preservation; and
- Host a conference for HBCU Library Alliance members to share experiences and teach others in the HBCU community about photograph preservation and preservation project planning and management.
- The Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware (www.artcons.udel.edu)
- The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (www.ccaha.org)
- The HBCU Library Alliance (www.hbculibraries.org)
- The Image Permanence Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology (www.imagepermanenceinstitute.org)
Our involvement with this project is part of the larger LYRASIS mission and demonstrates our commitment and ongoing effort to provide members and the library community as a whole with ways to preserve, grow and enhance their collections and serve their library users more effectively. For additional information, you may send emails to Steve Eberhardt, LYRASIS Project Manager, HBCU Photographic Preservation Project, or call him at 800-999-8558 ext. 4831.