The Digitization Lab at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage

Yale University is expanding access to its vast collections through digital technologies. As a part of the effort to bring Yale’s cultural heritage and natural science collections online, the University has developed the Digitization Lab, a state-of-the-art shared digital and scientific imaging laboratory, to extend capacity in digital photography and introduce innovative scientific imaging methods. In addition to the creation of this facility, the Digitization Lab is designed to bring together researchers, educators, curators, conservators and digital professionals to strengthen Yale’s ability to process and understand its renowned collections and make them available worldwide.

Located on Yale’s West Campus, the Digitization Lab works in conjunction with the conservation science labs of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. The institute, funded in combination by the University and the generous gift from Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, is strategically designed to make use of existing laboratory and office spaces and will be completed over a multi-year process.  The initial renovations were focused on improving the physical spaces utilized by the Digitization Lab and the conservation science laboratories.

The lab includes a dedicated spaces for high-resolution, 3D and technical imaging for research, analysis, education and publication.  The designated space consists of 5,528 square feet in the south end of building A21 on Yale’s West Campus. With a large open floor plan and 22 foot high ceilings, the space offers unprecedented capacity and flexibility for imaging art and specimens.  The large, high bay studio can also be divided into two studios with a 30’ x 17’ folding door.  A catwalk suspended 17 feet above studio one allows for large flat object photography.  New equipment acquisitions in the Digitization Lab are focused on adding capacity for the 2D capture of oversized artworks and natural history specimens, as well as the introduction of new 3D and analytical imaging capabilities for objects of various sizes.

Construction of the Digitization Lab is a significant move toward the long-term vision of opening up Yale’s collections and information about those collections to the world. IPCH is leading this broad community collaboration to create a shared infrastructure for the organizations engaged in the stewardship and study of cultural heritage and natural history at Yale – Yale Peabody Museum, the Yale Center for British Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, Computing and the Arts, and the Arts Area Professional Schools.