Conserving cinema’s legacy at George Eastman Museum

Document Type





Deborah Stoiber, conservation, preservation, film conservation, cinema conservation, George Eastman Museum, Brodsky Series




Archival Science | Art and Materials Conservation | Film and Media Studies | Library and Information Science


The 2018 offering of the annual Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation featured Deborah Stoiber, collection manager of the Moving Image Department at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester. Stoiber’s lecture “Conserving Cinema’s Legacy at George Eastman Museum” provided an introduction to the George Eastman Museum’s moving image holdings. Founded by the museum’s first curator of film, James Card (1915–2000), the collection now consists of more than 28,000 titles spanning the entire history of cinema, from the early experiments of the Lumière brothers to the cinema of today. Her presentation encompassed the definitions of conservation, preservation, reconstruction, and duplication in the moving image world, and focused on case studies on conservation practices and their application for both digital and analog media.

The lecture was preceded by a hands-on workshop “Film Inspection and Identification.” The interactive workshop covered the basics of film handling, including the identification of nitrate and safety film bases, formats, and stages of decomposition. Students were encouraged to take photos and ask questions as they viewed films on workbenches.

Deborah Stoiber has worked for the George Eastman Museum for close to 20 years. She oversees 100,000 nitrate and safety motion picture reels, a large variety of video formats, along with 2,000 Technicolor dye bottles in three facilities located in and around the city of Rochester. Her responsibilities include inspecting, accessioning, and cataloging collection material; making recommendations for de-accessioning collections; and new acquisitions. Recent donations to the museum include an acquisition of South Asian Cinema that has created the largest collection of Indian Cinema outside of India. She is an instructor in The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, and is the technical director of the Nitrate Picture Show, the first film festival dedicated to the conservation of 35mm film.

See more on the Brodsky Series Page at: https://library.syr.edu/scrc/programs/brodsky.php

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.