Monastic Treasure Caretaker Training in Digital Documentation and Preservation


Art theft from Himalayan Buddhist monasteries is increasing every year, and monastic caretakers are asking for training in security and documentation. There is a particular need for inventories that include integrated video/audio interviews with the elder monastics who carried the treasures from distant monasteries and who still carry the knowledge of the objects’ history and significance.

After decades of fieldwork and fifteen years building toward this specific effort, Digital Monastery Project is ready to pilot a training opportunity for monastic treasure caretakers to be held in the Himalayan region. Our international team includes experienced professional conservators, security experts and digital inventory specialists who have decades of experience in related projects.

Each year’s training consists of two segments:

· Instructional Residency - The goal is to train monk/nun participants (20-25 at a time) from monasteries and nunneries across the Himalayan region, including all lineages. The participants serve as caretakers for their home monasteries’ treasures. In early March 2014, the participants will arrive for 3 weeks of instruction in digital documentation, basic preservation and disaster management planning, with special emphasis on security.
The training program is augmented by visits to the studios of Master sculptors, weavers, dyers, tailors, thangka painters, and other traditional disciplines. Site visits to local monasteries will provide hands-on, working situation documentation experience.

· On-Site Follow-up - Each monk/nun participant returns to his or her monastery to develop their collection care and preservation plan and begin digital documentation of the treasures of the home monastery. Members of the teaching team will visit monk/nun participants to work side-by side with them in their treasuries, ensuring knowledge and skills acquired are being well applied.

Please, consider supporting the effort by donating and by forwarding this to your colleagues and friends. All contributions go to a US 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization (Milarepa Childrens), and tax receipts can be issued. Please join our team!
You can follow us directly via social media by checking out our Facebook page Digital Monastery Project at:
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This is the first of a series of postings, and we will together follow the process of implementation for this international preservation project, including the use of social media and crowdsource fundraising. Thank you for your support, and please contact me for more detailed information about Monastic Treasure Caretaker Training in Digital Documentation and Preservation.

Ann Shaftel MA, MS, FIIC, FAIC, CAPC