The Digital Restoration Initiative: A Cultural Heritage Imaging and Analysis Lab

Grants and Contracts Details


The University of Kentucky seeks an NEH Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant: Capital Projects to: (1) expand and convert existing space into a digital humanities laboratory specifically designed for the handling and non-invasive imaging of cultural heritage materials; (2) purchase advanced imaging equipment uniquely customized for use with friable, damaged cultural heritage objects; and (3) develop and support a “virtual unwrapping” software consortium made up of scholars and students from the humanities and computer science who will work together to develop and maintain new AI-based tools for solving challenges unique to cultural heritage studies. Led by PI Professor Brent Seales and Co- Is Dean Mark Kornbluh and Dean Rudolph Buccheit of both the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Engineering, this unique, highly interdisciplinary initiative will have as its primary purpose the advancement of humanities scholarship using technological and computer science advances as a scaffold. In other words, the laboratory will not engage in “science for science’s sake,” but “science for the humanities’ sake.” The lab we propose will be flexible so that high quality images can be acquired by working around a fragile object’s parameters, versus the object being forced to fit the imaging equipment’s parameters. The heritage object will serve as the focal point around which the science, the tech, and the hardware will be custom-built to meet its unique needs. With deans from both the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Engineering serving as Co-Is, this initiative is a stellar example of how the humanities and STEM fields can work together to rescue knowledge locked away by damage to the historical record. The proposed lab will operate as a link between traditionally siloed institutions at the University of Kentucky and offer a unique opportunity to build partnerships among the different colleges on campus.
Effective start/end date6/1/215/30/26


  • National Endowment for the Humanities: $138,305.00


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