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CCAHA to continue photographic preservation efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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CCAHA is pleased to announce our participation in the second round of an initiative to improve preservation of significant photographic collections held in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently approved a $1.4 million grant to LYRASIS to fund the three-year project, a joint effort by CCAHA, LYRASIS, the HBCU Library Alliance, the University of Delaware Art Conservation Department, and the Image Permanence Institute.

Goals of the HBCU photograph preservation project are to provide practical training in photograph preservation and environmental monitoring and control, to stabilize at-risk photographic collections at HBCUs, and to build local preservation capacity within HBCU institutions.

The project began in 2007 with Round One, which was also Mellon-funded and included multiple training programs, conservation assessments, and funding for demonstration projects and environmental monitoring at ten HBCUs.  As part of Round One, CCAHA staff traveled to selected sites to provide consultations and workshops, and several HBCUs sent at-risk collection items to CCAHA for treatment and housing.  Jessie Carney Smith, Dean of the Library, Fisk University, said that the project’s first round “gave our priceless collections the attention that they needed.”

Specific objectives of Round Two, which begins in January 2011, will be to:

Survey photographic collections at all HBCUs to comprehensively assess condition significance and preservation needs;

Teach selected participants to be effective trainers in photograph preservation so that they can serve as resources to collections care staff at other HBCUs during and after Round Two;

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.

To learn more about Round Two of the HBCU photograph preservation project, please visit the LYRASIS website.  More details on CCAHA’s involvement in Round One can be found here.

Images (top):

1.  Senior Conservation Assistant Jilliann Wilcox treating photos of Kentucky State University's Class of 1939.

2.  Abraham Lincoln pin from the Robert W. Woodruff Library.  It received conservation treatment at CCAHA.

3.  A page from Illustrations for Poems of Cabin & Field, by Paul Laurence Dunbar, from Hampton University.  The pages eventually came to CCAHA for treatment.

4.  CCAHA Photograph Conservator Rachel Wetzel trains Robert W. Woodruff Library staff in cleaning lantern slides.

5.  CCAHA Senior Photograph Conservator Barbara Lemmen trains Fisk University staff in preservation procedures.