The Papyrus Collection is in need of support for various aspects of operation, including:
This endowment will enable research on the collection itself. Only approximately one-third of the U of M papyrus collection has been published thus far. Many more papyri await full investigation and publication. Support in this area will assure that U of M papyrologists have the time and resources to give these hidden treasures the attention they deserve and to share the collection with the rest of the world.
More specifically the endowment in papyrology will enable us do the following:
- Publish the remaining part of the collection.
- Invite national and international scholars in areas that our expertise does not cover (for instance through named short-term fellowships).
- Hire undergraduate and graduate student assistants to be trained in conservation and technology and to assist with the management of the collection.
- Organize workshops and mini conferences.
- Organize the 25th international congress of papyrology (2007).
- Organize the papyrology summer seminar (2009) at the U of M.
A continued effort must be made each year to conserve these fragile records by removing debris and aligning pieces. Support in this endeavor will contribute to this necessary task and will aid in the discovery of new marvels, as fragments within the collection are pieced back together.
In the past 10 years a conservator has worked on the collection on an ad hoc basis or as part of cost-sharing for the APIS project. The endowment will secure her services at least for 3 days per week. Although a substantial portion of the published part of the collection has been conserved systematically as part of the APIS project, much more work needs to be done on the unpublished—and much larger—part of the collection. Conservation will entail cleaning, aligning, and connecting fragments of texts that have not yet been fully studied or published, and ensuring their continued storage in an acid-free environment.
At present the collection relies exclusively on a 50% FTE, Traianos Gagos, who has a split appointment with the Department of Classical Studies. Everyone else working in the papyrology rooms is supported either through APIS or through other grants for which Gagos applies and administers. An endowment in this area will ensure a part-time clerical staff that will take care of the daily activities and organization of the collection, support for graduate or advanced undergraduate students that will be trained to present the collection to wider audiences (e.g. give tours) or assist with on-line projects (such as exhibits and interactive projects) intended for non-specialists.