Home / About the Libraries / News Events Exhibits / News & Announcements / UW Libraries and Henry Art Gallery awarded $300,000 for joint conservator position for paper and photographs

UW Libraries and Henry Art Gallery awarded $300,000 for joint conservator position for paper and photographs

February 3, 2017

The University of Washington Libraries and Henry Art Gallery announce a $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund the jointly-proposed project Collaborative Paper and Photograph Conservation. Funds will support the three-year appointment of a Joint Associate Conservator for Paper and Photographs.

The new conservator will work with current staff to conserve and enhance access to our significant and inherently delicate collections of photographs and other works on paper as well as contribute to ongoing training, teaching, and outreach to UW departments and heritage institutions in the region.

“We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for recognizing the expertise and capacity of the UW Libraries and Henry Art Gallery to develop new collaborative services,” said Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson, Vice Provost for Digital Initiatives and Dean of University Libraries.  “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the Henry to share cultural materials with visitors and researchers on campus and around the world.”

Sylvia Wolf, John S. Behnke Director of the Henry, adds, “This significant grant from the Mellon Foundation allows us to ensure the preservation of our extensive collection of photography and works on paper for future generations. We’re also thrilled that our museology work-study students and interns will have the opportunity to study with and learn from our new conservator.”

At both the Henry and Libraries, works on paper and photographs that require more complex and specialized conservation techniques will be prioritized for conservation. These may include the following significant collections and works:

  • 19th century etchings by James McNeill Whistler (Henry)
  • An extensive collection of regional photographs from early works by Edward S. Curtis to the Seattle Camera Club to Mary Randlett (Libraries)
  • Drawings by notable Pacific Northwest architects such as Paul Hayden Kirk and Ellsworth Storey (Libraries)
  • The Joseph and Elaine Monsen Collection of Photography and the Stimson Bullitt Collection of 19th and early 20th century prints (Henry)
  • Rare Chinese stele rubbings, and maps and engravings documenting early exploration of the Pacific Northwest (Libraries)
  • Large-scale photographs by Cindy Sherman, Carrie Mae Weems, James Welling, and other contemporary artists (Henry)

The Libraries and the Henry will conduct a nationwide search for the new Joint Associate Conservator who is expected to begin work in Autumn 2017. The grant opportunity arose from the findings of a January 2016 convening, “The Academic Art Museum and Library Summit,” hosted by the University of Miami and jointly sponsored by the Kress and Mellon Foundations, which recognized the potential for sustainable shared practices between academic art museums and libraries.

Located on the University of Washington campus, Henry Art Gallery serves as a creative forum, bringing together a broad range of experiences and points of view, connecting new ideas in art to new ideas of all kinds. Free to UW staff and faculty, and all students, the museum provides a platform for discovery and inspiration through up-close experiences with contemporary art and ideas.

The University of Washington Libraries is a network of more than 16 academic research libraries serving three campuses: Seattle, UW Bothell, and UW Tacoma, and is home to the largest library collection in the Pacific Northwest with over 9 million books, journals, millions of microforms, thousands of maps, rare books, film, audio and video recordings.


  • Stephanie Lamson, Head, Libraries Preservation Services, salamson@uw.edu 206-543-4890
  • A.C. Petersen, Libraries Communications Officer, acpete@uw.edu 206-543-9389
  • Dana Van Nest, Associate Director of Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations, press@henryart.org 206-616-9625