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Ten HBCU institutions selected for one-year, in-depth preservation projects

    • Examining negatives at Hampton University 2

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Photograph Preservation Project—a joint effort by  CCAHA, LYRASIS, the HBCU Library Alliance, the University of Delaware Art Conservation Department, and the Image Permanence Institute—aims to improve preservation of significant photographic collections held in HBCUs. As part of the second round of this initiative, 10 HBCUs were recently selected to receive $45,000 grants to fund one-year, in-depth preservation projects.

These 10 institutions—Bethune-Cookman University (FL), Bowie State University (MD), Fisk University (TN), H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College (AL), Hampton University (VA), Jackson State University (MS), Johnson C. Smith University (NC), Oakwood University (AL), the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center (GA), and Tuskegee University (AL)—will use the funding to re-house selected negative and print collections, stabilize and treat at-risk materials, and assess the condition and storage needs of collections.

Funding may also support the purchase of needed supplies, technical training, and digitization and conservation services. Each institution will receive equipment to begin and maintain environmental control and monitoring programs in the areas where collections are held.  Additionally, two students at each HBCU will participate in eight-week internships that will include hands-on preservation instruction.

Implementation of projects will start in April 2012, but planning has already begun. So far, CCAHA Senior Photograph Conservator Barbara Lemmen, Photograph Conservator Rachel Wetzel, and Paper & Photograph Conservator Jessica Keister have visited five of the 10 institutions to provide consultation services. At each site, a conservator spent one day working with institutional staff to help prioritize collections for preservation based on their significance, usage, and condition and to offer initial condition assessments and cost estimates.  A second day at each site focused on training in the identification, housing, and handling of photographs.

The HBCU Photograph Preservation Project is funded by a $1.4 million grant to LYRASIS from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Goals of the project are to provide practical training in photograph preservation and environmental monitoring and control and to build local preservation capacity within all HBCU institutions. For more information on other project activities and round one of the initiative, please click here.

Image (from right): Following a training session at Hampton University, Museum Director Nashid Madyun, Clerk Typist Cynthia Poston, and Associate Curator & Director of Membership & Community Services Crystal Johnson identify the type of film base for negatives in the University's collection