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Illuminating Manuscripts: Democratizing Access to Collections through Multispectral Imaging Technology

April 14, 2023 at 1:30pm4:00pm EDT

Bird Library, Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114)

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Join Rochester Institute of Technology guest lecturers Dr. Juilee Decker and Dr. David Messinger. 

Many objects of interest in cultural heritage have been damaged, erased or overwritten to the point where the original text is unreadable. Fortunately, modern imaging tools can help to illuminate—literally and figuratively—these artifacts, enabling researchers, curators and collections professionals to unveil information and more fully understand and interpret them. As part of an NEH Preservation and Access grant (PR-268783-20), researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology have developed a low-cost and low-barrier-to-entry multispectral imaging system for the study of cultural heritage artifacts. The system uses a simple camera and LED setup, along with easy-to-use capture software to collect the images and user-friendly image processing software to enhance features in the imagery. Thus, the system democratizes access to multispectral imaging as well as access to collections and empowers scholars and professionals to employ digital tools that can enable them to develop deeper, more complete understandings of cultural heritage artifacts. Examples of the capture process and the results of the image processing will be presented, and attendees will have the opportunity to see the system operate. Our talk with highlight our work from the past year, particularly by students in RIT’s undergraduate museum studies program.

This lecture is being presented by:

Dr. Juilee Decker is professor of history at Rochester Institute of Technology where she directs the Museum Studies/Public History program. She earned her Ph.D. from the joint program in art history and museum studies at Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Museum of Art. She serves as editor of the peer-reviewed journal Collections (SAGE).

Dr. David Messinger received a Bachelors degree in Physics from Clarkson University and a Ph.D. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is currently a Professor and the Xerox Chair in Imaging Science at Rochester Institute of Technology.

This event was first published on March 1, 2023 and last updated on April 3, 2023.

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