The Visual Resources Center (VRC) in the department of Art and Art History was gifted over 30,000 slides documenting of 40 years of research and scholarship of the late Dr. Ronald M. Bernier, former CU Professor. This collection comprises images of the arts and architecture, along with geography, peoples and places of the Himalaya region, India, Southeast Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Oceania and Africa. Dr. Bernier’s primary focus of research and documentation represents the Himalaya region, India and Southeast Asia.
Some of the earliest images, dated to the mid-1960’s, document a time at which the remote Himalayan locations received very few outside (western) visitors. Dr. Bernier cultivated meaningful relationships with the monastic and lay communities and was granted permission to many temples and monasteries. His study and documentation of such places proves invaluable to scholarship in this era of acute awareness of illegal theft and sale, religious based destruction, natural erosion and unsustainable tourism of places, arts and artifacts around the world. In short, the archive is a comprehensive documentation of at risk places, arts and artifacts.
My name is Krystle Kelley, I am a Graduate Assistant (Art History M.A. candidate) in the VRC at CU Boulder. I received by B.A. from CU Boulder and took any and all of Dr. Bernier’s classes that I could enroll into. I am currently working on researching and cataloging the digital archive of the Bernier Archive. My supervisor, Elaine Paul, Director of the VRC and Lia Pileggi, Digital Imaging and Technology Coordinator, supervise the process. Dr. Ariana Maki, specialist in Buddhist art and iconography, with minor concentrations in Himalayan art and Islamic art and architecture, is the lead scholar for the project.
The intent of this blog is to provide an informative framework for anyone in the field of digital archives and cataloging that may be facing the same task, to expound on the scholarship surrounding at risk collections and non-Western arts and provide a window into the project for all interested scholars, students, amateur art enthusiasts and friends of digital archives.
Please feel free to comment on any post or reach out to me with any questions or information you would like to contribute. We expect this to be an open and collaborative blog.
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