Preservation Projects

Graduate Student Projects

Doron Galili examines a film from the DuSable collection. Photo by Lloyd DeGrane

In 2006, the Film Studies Center began its collaboration with Mapping the Stacks: a University of Chicago project funded by the Mellon Foundation that identifies and organizes previously unprocessed archival collections chronicling Black Chicago between the 1930s and 1970s in order to increase their use by researchers and the general public. Two project staff members and graduate students in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Christina Petersen and Doron Galili, worked with the FSC's facilities, equipment, and personnel to inspect, repair, catalog, and convert to accessible digital format over a hundred films from the moving image collections at the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American Literature and History. For more information and examples from their work on the collection, see the project’s website.

In 2004, CMS graduate student Theresa Scandiffio, working as an intern at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, uncovered a collection of 16mm prints chronicling study expeditions by the Museum's patrons during the first part of the 20th century. The Film Studies Center provided support for a thorough examination of the prints, made recommendations for future preservation, and produced digital access copies for the Museum's research library and the FSC study collection. Among the collection was the record of Marshall Field's expedition to Alaska and footage shot of Malvina Hoffman's study trips for the sculpture series Races of Mankind. Ms. Scandiffio's project helped to uncover a valuable and overlooked facet of the Field's history - an exciting re-discovery for the Museum.


The Center's model of partnering with archiving organizations on film preservation projects has allowed us to participate in the critical work of protecting our rich cinematic history and, at the same time, increase resources for teaching and research in cinema studies. Our partnerships include the 2007 preservation of Carolee Schneemann's experimental work Fuses with Anthology Film Archives; the preservation of the 1927 film Peasant Women of Riazan by Soviet director Olga Preobskaya with Preservation Associates; and providing archival storage for local filmmaker Allen Ross's The Grandfather Trilogy, which was preserved through a NFPF grant by Chicago Filmmakers. Other rare and unique works awaiting preservation partnerships reside in the FSC's archive - films by Iranian director Ebrahim Golestan and work by amateur filmmaker and UC alum Hector C. Coates, among others.

Staff Projects

in the Museo del Ciné

In May 2009, Assistant Director Julia Gibbs traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina as a member of the group Los Archivistas sin Fronteras. Organized through New York University's MIAP program under the direction of Dan Strieble and Howard Besser, the 14 archivists spent a week at the Museo del Ciné de Buenos Aires working with museum staff to assess collections within the archive.