what we do

Call to Action: UT’s Conservation Program Needs Your Help

The following is a letter written by my friend and colleague Holly Robertson regarding the potential loss of a unique and valuable graduate program in Library and Archives Conservation, of which we are both alumni.  Please take the time to read it, and to respond to the addresses given at the end.  If you are a graduate of the program, if you know a graduate of the program, or if you know of work done by a graduate, please support the continuation of funding for instructors.

On a personal note, Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa, Karen Pavelka and Chela Metzger, the core faculty of the Kilgarlin Center for the Preservation of the Cultural Record have been relentless champions of education in this field, and have been, and continue to be mentors of the highest degree – always available despite huge courseloads and extracurricular endeavors, generous with their advice, energy and resources, knowledgeable, and simply a pleasure to know.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.  If I don’t know, I will try to find out.  This is a program worth saving.


As many of you know, the Conservation Certificate of Advanced Study program of the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin is in jeopardy.  Since 1992, the program has been successful in obtaining external funding to support a range of program activities, including key full-time and adjunct faculty positions, conservation lab supplies and equipment, student internships, doctoral fellowships, visiting lecturers, and conferences.  Unfortunately, the program’s support from NEH, which has long funded the two conservation instructor positions (the backbone of the conservation program’s curriculum), will end August 31, 2010.  Without these positions, the Kilgarlin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record will not be able to offer the Conservation Certificate program.

No conservator students were accepted for this upcoming academic year so that an in-depth program review could take place.  That review is in its final stages and has mapped a transformative future for the program.  Grant, foundation, and private funding are beckoning but will require the University of Texas at Austin to demonstrate evidence of institutional support.  The School of Information has constructed wonderful new conservation labs in its new facility (http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/about/move.php), but they won’t have a single conservator student to put in them if they don’t have funding in place by October 2009 for the coming years.  Funding for the two instructor positions must be stabilized immediately.

Your assistance is requested in the form of letters to Vice President and Provost Stephen W. Leslie that request University support of these two conservation instruction positions and that document the program’s importance to the field.  University funding for even one of these positions will enhance the Kilgarlin Center’s ability to attract external foundation or private funding for the other position.  Many of you are alums, many others employ Kilgarlin Center grads, and nearly all of you are familiar with the Center’s singular role as a library and archives conservation education program.  Thank you for your support.

Hard copy letters can be mailed to:

Steven W. Leslie
Executive Vice President and Provost
University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station, G1000
Austin, Texas 78712

Please email copies of these letters to Dean Dillon and Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa:

Andrew P., Dillon
Dean, School of Information

Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa
Director, Kilgarlin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record