The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has received a $1 million gift from the Booth Heritage Foundation to support and enrich its conservation and preservation programs.
The gift to Campaign for Texas, the university’s capital campaign, will support a five-year initiative to enhance the Ransom Center’s conservation and preservation programs for physical materials and to transform the Center’s digital preservation program.
“David and I have long been committed to promoting visual and cultural heritage and to supporting preservation and conservation projects worldwide,” said Suzanne Deal Booth, a member of the Ransom Center’s Advisory Council. “We are pleased to support the university’s capital campaign with this gift to the Ransom Center to sustain and enhance the excellence of the Center’s conservation and preservation programs.” Suzanne Deal Booth, an art historian and art conservator, and her husband David G. Booth, founder and CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, founded the Friends of Heritage Preservation in 1989.
The gift will establish a Conservation and Preservation Programs Excellence Fund, supporting initiatives such as staff participation in conservation and preservation workshops, meetings, conferences and programs; the development of a digital preservation management system and the establishment of internships in conservation and digital preservation. The allocation of these funds will be reviewed annually and modified to accommodate evolving priorities and opportunities.
“The Ransom Center’s conservation program has long enjoyed an international reputation for excellence and leadership in the field, a position that will be fortified and enriched by this generous gift from the Booth Heritage Foundation,” said Ransom Center Director Thomas F. Staley.
The gift will enable the recruitment of two new Ransom Center staff members in photograph conservation and digital preservation, providing funding while the Center seeks to endow the positions permanently.
The new associate conservator of photographs will work with the senior photograph conservator to expand the volume of photograph conservation, to increase the number of interns and students trained in photograph conservation skills and to ensure that expertise and knowledge is shared with peers, interns, students and future generations of conservators.
The new digital preservation coordinator will engage with library, archive and museum managers at the university and worldwide in efforts to develop standards and best practices for the preservation and management of digital collections. The coordinator will collaborate with Ransom Center curatorial, technical and archival staff on the acquisition, preservation, description, access and exhibition of digital collections. The coordinator will also direct the development of a digital preservation management system, which will transform the Center’s ability to preserve and provide access to digital collection resources.
“This gift from Suzanne and David Booth ensures the Ransom Center’s future leadership in the dynamic fields of preservation and conservation, areas that are critical to the care and the growth of the Center’s collections,” said Staley.
Information about the Ransom Center’s conservation department can be found online.