Moving Image Archiving and Preservation

preservation audiovisual film motion picture training education masters degree digital copyright conservation

MIAP Spring 2008 – Conservation and Preservation: Principles – H72.1802 Tuesdays, 10:00 – 12:00 Noon

Duane A. Watson
Office Hours: Tuesday, 12:30 – 2:30 and by appointment

Course Description:

An introduction to the basic principles and methods of conserving and preserving the wide range of materials found in libraries, archives, special and heritage collections. Topics include the history of preservation, collections care, maintenance and environmental issues, commercial preservation options, selection for preservation, security, issues in paper and photographic preservation and conservation, disaster planning and recovery, issues relating to non–print materials, preservation reformatting, digital imaging and the preservation and responsibility for cultural heritage. Two three hour sessions on still photography will be scheduled at the Metropolitan Museum with photographic conservator Nora Kennedy on April 1 and April 8. One six–hour Saturday class will be scheduled with conservator Alan Balicki at the New York Historical Society on the 8th of March. Other site visits and guests may be arranged.

Course Objectives:

To introduce students to:

Students completing this course should:

Professional Tools:

Evaluation of Student Performance will be based on:

Outline of Course Content and Readings:


Other resources:


Class 1 – January 22

Class 2 – January 29

In his introduction, Thomas P. Hughes indicates two Overarching Themes: Creativity and Human–Built World. Based on his discussion and examples throughout the book, write a 2–3 page essay explaining how you see these themes applying – positively and/or negatively – to the preservation of cultural heritage collections.

Class 3 – February 05

Class 4 – February 12

Class 5 – February 19 (Essay on Human–Built World Due)

  • Assignment:
  • Class 6 – February 26

    Class # 7 – March 04

    Class 8 – March 08

    New-York Historical Society (10 – 5, Saturday)
    Alan Balicki, Senior Conservator

    March 18 Spring Recess – No Class

    Assignment – Remember Writing Assignment is due on April 15

    Class 9 – March 25

    Class 10 – April 1

    Reading Assignment:

    Class 11 – April 8 (Note that is will be a 3 hour class: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)

    Still Photography – Nora Kennedy, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Class 12 – April 15 (Note that this will be a 3 hour class: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)

    Class 13 – April 22

    Class 14 – April 29 – Last Class

    Writing Assignment (Due April 15)

    Each of the books on the list below has a relationship to library and archival preservation. In some cases, that relationship is very clear; in others, it may be more of a challenge to identify the connection. The purpose of the assignment is to stretch your thinking about preservation and archives, to move it beyond the daily routine of providing users with useable materials to thinking about the stewardship of collections today and their availability in the future.

    Your response to the book will be subjective, but your comments should be substantiated by evidence supporting your thesis, evidence from the book itself and other resources that you might wish to use. Your paper should resemble one of the in depth book reviews in the New York Times or The New York Review of Books. That is, it should go beyond the book to include your supported comments, your reactions based on your own experience or knowledge and the preservation and access to library, archive and heritage collections which form the basis of this course.

    Format: Double space, 12 point type, no fewer than 5 pages (plus bibliographic sources, cover sheet – not necessary but ok – and any other attachments) and no more than 10 pages. Quality of writing and thinking surpass numbers of pages in the reviewer’s assessment. This assignment will be due in class on March 27. It takes the place of a mid-term exam.

    Bibliography: Select One