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Imaging Technology Pathways for
Museum Professionals

"21st-Century Museum Professionals Grant Program"

Institute of Museum and Library Services


Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and dissemination of new imaging technologies for the benefit of our shared artistic, historic, and cultural resources. Thanks to a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services 21st Century Museum Professionals program, CHI is pleased to present a series of FREE training sessions in Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), graciously hosted by the following institutions:

Worcester Art Museum July 11-14, 2011
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Aug 15-18, 2011
Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute Mar 5-8, 2012
Indianapolis Museum of Art Sept 10-13, 2012

RTI produces flexible images of unparalleled detail, with significant applications for art conservation, art historical research, documentation and preservation, and outreach and education. For more information, please see the examples provided by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, in a video sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Mark Mudge and NYU students chat about the details of RTI capture.

In RTI, multiple photographs are taken of an object while light is projected from different angles. The lighting information is mathematically synthesized, allowing museum professionals to re-light the RTI representation of the object's surface. RTI can mathematically enhance 3D information, making visible surface details that are not visible to the naked eye or through standard magnification or photography. Learn More here.

In each 4-day training session, the CHI team will use lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on class participation to teach Highlight RTI. This is a very flexible, low-cost imaging method that relies on standard digital camera equipment, lighting, and a few small tools that are used to measure light reflectance. The software is available in open source format. Participants will return to their home institutions with all the knowledge necessary to successfully use RTI technology, along with the relevant software and instructions. RTI kits that include the black spheres and other tools used in Highlight RTI are available for purchase separately.

NYU students make an adjustment to a capture setup.

Through the application process, we hope to include conservators and allied professionals from a variety of organizations and with a range of different specializations, skill sets, and levels of experience. Applications from pairs of individuals who work together is encouraged, since RTI is most successfully accomplished through teamwork. For example, we would welcome applications from a conservator and a photo or IT specialist from the same museum. Because of the "hands-on" nature of the training, enrollment is limited to 15. To date, CHI has conducted similar training sessions at the Worcester Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and at several international venues. In addition to sponsoring four museum-based training sessions, the IMLS is also supporting RTI training for the six members of the Association of North American Graduate Programs in the Conservation of Cultural Property.

To attend one of the training sessions, please download the Application Form.

A special thanks to our collaborators:
tru-vue   The SFMOMA training session is partially funded by Tru Vue Optium and includes a donation of Optium glazing for two participants.

Sponsored by the:

word   Download Application (45 KB)

Read About the 21st-Century Museum Professional Grant Program


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