Pass It On: Preserving our Collective and Personal Cultural Heritage

Monday, April 26, 2021 - 12:00am to Friday, December 30, 2022 - 12:00am

The Heritage Health Index, a landmark study conducted by Heritage Preservation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2004, indicated that there were more than 48 million objects and artifacts held in public trust by over 30,000 institutions in the United States. Many of these collections were considered, at the time of the survey, to be “at risk and [to] require immediate attention and care.”

The Yale University Library’s share includes 15 million bound volumes and close to 2 million photographs. Sound recordings and moving images add thousands of unique documentary and other content to that total. Digital files and their dependent software raise the stakes exponentially for cultural heritage preservation, presenting new challenges. Caring for a collection of the size, breadth, and depth of the Yale Library may seem an impossible task, and yet it is the daily mission of the dedicated and talented staff of the Library’s Center for Preservation and Conservation.

This online exhibit showcases the artistic, scientific, and technological solutions executed by preservation specialists and conservation experts who accept the mission to preserve and conserve. Each look inside the Center’s laboratories and workrooms is -paired with at-home strategies to inspire visitors to make it their mission to preserve their treasures or those of their families or communities.

Curated by Christine McCarthy, Director of Preservation and Conservation Services