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This project was completed in June 2010.

National Park Service Preservation Center Awards Grant to Bay Area Non-Profit

March 24, 2009, San Francisco, CA — Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI), a Bay Area nonprofit, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the National Park Service’s (NPS) National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT). The grant supports the development of a hands-on and web-based training program for rock art researchers, park staff, and other cultural heritage experts to learn advanced imaging techniques for documenting artifacts and sites.

Cultural Heritage Imaging and its museum, university, government, and industry partners will share techniques and tools for three-dimensional (3D), digital documentation and preservation of ancient rock art resources. The training program will include a hands-on workshop to produce content for training materials shared over the Internet, including do-it-yourself (DIY) guides and video podcasts. The workshop take place at the Presidio of San Francisco, courtesy of the Presidio Archaeology Lab.

“This grant will help us train people to create interactive digital media of precious artifacts on their own, using regular digital cameras,” said Mark Mudge, Cultural Heritage Imaging President and co-founder. “Our partners are contributing their expertise to ensure that the workshop and DIY materials will be tremendously valuable to participants and future viewers of the online content.”

Cultural Heritage Imaging is developing the program with seven organizations — The National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian), the Presidio Archaeology Lab (Presidio Trust), the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Operations Center, two University of California (UC) campuses (Berkeley and Santa Cruz), Hewlett Packard (HP) Laboratories, and Princeton University. Each partner brings unique skills and interests to the training program development project.

“We are excited at the prospect of taking significant new technologies and putting them in the hands of archaeologists,” said David Morgan, Archaeology and Collections Chief with the NCPTT. “Cultural Heritage Imaging's multifaceted approach to teaching will help make it possible for all professional archaeologists to have access to this quality training.”

The training program uses advanced 3D imaging technology, invented by Tom Malzbender at HP Labs. Cultural Heritage Imaging staff, Malzbender, and other collaborators adapted the technology for use in many settings, including archaeological sites, museums, and national parks. The technology has been field-tested all over the US and the world on many types of artifacts, including rock art, mosaics, ancient coins, ceramics, stone carvings, and cuneiform tablets. Working with advanced imaging techniques known as dense photogrammetry, experts Tom Noble and Neffra Matthews will demonstrate with Cultural Heritage Imaging how these complimentary technologies can help to preserve digital 3D knowledge for the future.

Cultural Heritage Imaging plans to launch the workshop and Web-based training program in late summer/early fall 2009.

Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in San Francisco. Cultural Heritage Imaging drives development and adoption of practical digital imaging and preservation solutions to save humanity's endangered treasures. Cultural Heritage Imaging offers training and consultation services to museums, archaeologists, conservation staff, government agencies, and the public. Visit Cultural Heritage Imaging at www.culturalheritageimaging.org.