The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York, has received a $375,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The funds will support the preservation and conservation of digital media. The grant project, “Born Digital: Pathways Towards Preservation,” will be led by Barbara Miller, senior curator of collections and exhibitions.
“Because they are made out of bits and bytes, these ‘objects’ are often created, manipulated, and viewed digitally, requiring brand new preservation strategies and technologies,” said executive director Carl Goodman. “We are honored by this award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For the past two decades, the museum has been at the forefront of exhibiting digital media works, from early video art to video games and animated GIFs. This grant will enable us, for the first time in our history, to have an infrastructure for the collection and preservation of such work.”
The Museum has partnered with Small Data Industries, a conservation studio and consultancy founded by Ben Fino-Radin, to conduct activities including reviewing current institutional practices; developing a pilot digital preservation repository for the collection; and facilitating dialogue with colleagues at other museums, libraries, and universities facing similar challenges in the conservation of born-digital art and cultural heritage.
“Ensuring the longevity of born-digital content is essential to preserving the cultural record of our time. With this grant, the Museum of the Moving Image will take an important leap forward toward embedding the necessary infrastructure to make the responsible stewardship of this material mission-critical,” said Alison Gilchrest, program officer for arts and cultural heritage at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.