Certificate Course Topics

The academic year for the certificate program runs from September to June and is divided into four quarters. Comprehensive written exams are held at the conclusion of each quarter.

The curriculum consists of instruction and applied knowledge acquired through six modes of learning:

  1. Plenary sessions taught by staff and covering a variety of topics, including archive management, ethics, history, organization and preservation. Some sessions are held in conjunction with the University of Rochester.
  2. Guest lectures from adjunct faculty in various specialized fields throughout the academic year.
  3. Rotations scheduled with individual staff on a sequential basis. Each student spends a minimum of one week per quarter with a staff member responsible for a specific area or duties within the George Eastman Museum Moving Image Department. Students share all aspects of the staff member's daily activity and assist with routine assignments. The rotation method allows students to work with every member of the Moving Image Department staff, thus acquiring the skills necessary to fulfill the major assignments in a modern film archive. Departmental areas to which students are assigned include: curatorial management and administration, film preservation, digital restoration, film print handling and inspection for theatrical and small gauge formats, cataloging, programming, vault management, film projection, and photo and paper collections processing and archiving.
  4. Team projects are assigned throughout the year. Examples include the preparation of grant applications, film print selection, collection inventory, preliminary cataloging, and basic collection and vault management.
  5. Field trips to archives, film laboratories, research centers, manufacturing plants, and archival facilities are scheduled during the spring quarters.
  6. Individual projects to encourage specialization and provide students the opportunity to complete a professional film archive assignment, involving the inspection, processing, and preservation management of a discrete moving image or other type of collection.

The certificate program features a team of specialists in the field of moving image archiving and provides prospective film archivists with comprehensive knowledge of the theories, methods, and practices of motion picture preservation. The curriculum covers all aspects of motion picture archiving, from laboratory techniques to management and access. Topics addressed in the program include:


  • Typology of Moving Image and Sound Archives
  • George Eastman Museum, FIAF (International Federation of Film Archives), and the Film Archiving Movement
  • Regional Film Archives
  • National Film Archives
  • International Film Archives


  • Museum Studies
  • Terminology
  • Preservation Principles and Rules
  • Ethical Issues in the Preservation of Audio-Visual Materials
  • Film Historiography and Preservation


  • Basic Film Handling
  • Film Examination
  • Film Formats
  • Film Treatments
  • Digital Laboratory Work
  • Print Identification
  • Archival Projection
  • Technical Selection
  • Techniques for Film and Video Restoration Projects


  • Basic Film Structure
  • Polymer Degradation
  • Cellulose Nitrate and Its Preservation
  • Polyester
  • Other Audio-Visual Media
  • Vinegar Syndrome


  • Humidity, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) in Media Storage Vaults
  • Specialized Archive Buildings and Their Specifications
  • Film Storage Conditions
  • Video Preservation and Storage
  • Laboratory Structure and Organization
  • Basic Film Processing Theory
  • Color Film Preservation
  • Color Film Duplication
  • Step Printers/Continuous Printers/Optical Printers
  • Preservation of Sound Recordings
  • Electronic and Digital Imaging Techniques


  • Organization of a Moving Image and Sound Archive
  • Budget
  • Fundraising
  • Grant Writing
  • Project Management
  • The Work of the George Eastman Museum
  • Selection and Acquisition of Films and Television Programs
  • Curatorial Issues
  • Staff Training
  • Health and Safety

Activities and Services

  • Cataloging and Inventory
  • Computerization of Records
  • Viewing Services
  • Donor Access
  • Stock Footage Services
  • Programming
  • Historical Research
  • Film Stills, Posters, and Papers
  • Special Collections

Legal Issues

  • Copyright & Intellectual Property
  • Insurance on Archival Holdings
  • Legal Deposit of Films and Video
  • Acquisitions, Deposits, and Donations