Volume 29, Number 4, Winter 2007

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awards $1.2 Million to HBCU

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant for $1.2 million to the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware and the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET), in partnership with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Library Alliance and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA).

The grant is to fund a thirty-month, four-phase initiative to improve the preservation of significant photographic collections held within HBCUs. “These collections document the visual and institutional history and legacy of HBCUs and form a core of primary research material for the study of African-American history,” said Kate Nevins, SOLINET executive director.

A recent survey of the HBCU libraries revealed that only 22 percent had completed a conservation assessment of their photographic holdings, which is a necessary step in determining the short- and long-term needs of a collection.

“This grant will immediately empower the stewards of these important collections by providing practical training in photograph preservation, assisting with prioritization of needed projects, stabilizing at-risk collections, and encouraging investment in preservation capacity-building within their institutions,” said Debra Hess Norris, chair of the University of Delaware's Art Conservation Department.

The project includes an educational summit on photograph preservation, on-site collection assessments, and funding for projects and environmental monitoring at ten HBCUs. In the long-term, the project will promote sharing resources and conservation knowledge within the broader HBCU network, and introduce HBCU undergraduates to graduate studies and careers in conservation and preservation as well as other professional opportunities within libraries, archives and museums.

For more information, contact Lillian Lewis, HBCU Library Alliance, (404) 592-4820.