May 23, 2022

George Eastman Musuem Using IMLS Grant to Restore a Collection of 1,285 Motion Picture Prints From South Asia

From Moving Image Archive News:

In September, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for United States libraries and museums, awarded the Eastman Museum $249,517 for its project.


Eastman is using the grant, and other funds, to restore 1,285 Indian and Pakistani film prints. Archivists there believe their collection to be largest of its kind outside India.

At the end of 2014, the museum dramatically saved from destruction some 775 Indian film prints that had been abandoned at a closed multiplex cinema in California, the Indian American-owned Naz 8.

Since then, in 2016 the British Film Institute National Archive donated to Eastman 441 prints from South Asia, most of them Pakistani prints from 1939 to 1986 – potentially some rarities, Eastman archivists believe. Then in 2017, many more films came to Eastman from another failed cinema in Houston, Texas.


Caroline Yeager, associate curator in Eastman’s moving image department, says the museum has devoted many hours of staff time to preservation work on the collection, and now will be able to increase that significantly. The IMLS grant will enable Eastman to hire two more curators, for two years, dedicated solely to the project.

Eastman is preparing a catalog for eventual placement on its online collection database. To promote understanding of South Asian film and culture, the Museum will also lend out prints that are in fit state to be projected, as many are.

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Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.