Preserving Jewish History

The Collection Management and Conservation Wing was opened to the public in spring of 2011. It comprises the Shelby White & Leon Levy Archival Processing Laboratory, the Werner J. and Gisella Levi Cahnman Preservation Laboratory, and additional space for working with sound and photo archives.

Visitors can observe and learn about the behind-the-scenes operations of archivists, technicians and preservation experts as they make irreplaceable original documents, objects and recordings available for study and enjoyment.

The Shelby White & Leon Levy Archival Processing Laboratory serves as a state-of-the-art permanent home for ongoing archival projects. As archivists work to continue providing researchers with the highest level of access to the collections housed at the Center, visitors can view the process of archival collections management and recognize its importance in the larger world of Jewish history. The Archival Lab is also a launching ground for future collection-based projects.

The Gruss Lipper Digital Laboratory works in concert with the other labs, providing the public with high-quality digital multimedia facsimiles of items from the partners' collections. Its experienced staff works with high-tech collection management systems to produce images, audio files and other digital resources that make delicate and vulnerable treasures from the partners' archives accessible to a wide audience. All of the digital material is then made available at digital.cjh.org.

The Werner J. and Gisella Levi Cahnman Preservation Laboratory serves the critical tasks of stabilizing, maintaining and prolonging the life of the partners' extensive paper-based collections, which are subject to deterioration due to environmental conditions, age and handling. The Preservation Lab reformats brittle materials, treats items damaged by use, and preserves and re-houses collections in customized protective containers and sleeves. Without these preservation efforts, many materials—some of which date back hundreds of years—would not be accessible to the public.