Friends Lecture Series: Father Columba Stewart

November 12, 2020 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Learn about the preservation work of ancient manuscripts around the world at risk of being destroyed by war, disaster, looting and neglect. 

Please join us for a fascinating lecture by Father Columba Stewart, Benedictine monk and Executive Director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Fr. Steward will talk about his team’s work digitally preserving ancient manuscripts of diverse world cultures and religions at risk of being destroyed by war, disaster, looting, and neglect. 

Since its founding in 1965, HMML has worked with libraries in more than 20 countries to photograph historic manuscripts in dozens of languages. Some of the original manuscripts were later destroyed, stolen, lost, or moved for safekeeping. The library now holds the largest on-line collection of manuscripts in the world and makes them available on vHMML Reading Room, an on-line environment for manuscript studies.

Upon becoming Executive Director of HMML in 2003, Father Columba embarked upon extensive travels throughout the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and India to establish working relationships with communities possessing manuscript collections dating from the early medieval period to modern times. Since then, HMML has digitized manuscripts from some of the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible places. Father Columba and his team accomplish this by working with local leaders to photograph manuscripts, “to ensure that their deposits of wisdom, their libraries of handwritten texts, the voices of their past, can join the global conversations of the digital era.”  

Tickets are available October 15 for Friends members and October 17 for the general public. Please visit or call 612-870-3000 to reserve.