Exploring the Past: RIT’s Spectral Imaging System in the Dubrovnik Archive

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Two students from Rochester Institute of Technology came to Dubrovnik to install the groundbreaking spectral imaging system, known as MISHA (Multispectral Imaging System)‌

Photo: RIT students demonstrating the MISHA system at the Dubrovnik Archive

RIT students demonstrating the MISHA system at the Dubrovnik Archive

In the picturesque coastal city of Dubrovnik, two students from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Izzy Moyer and Leah Humenuck, embarked on an exciting mission recently. Their mission? To install the groundbreaking spectral imaging system, known as MISHA (Multispectral Imaging System for Historical Artifacts), developed in part by RIT, at the esteemed Dubrovnik Archives.

This endeavor marks the final phase of a project that seeks to build a bridge between RIT, its global campus RIT Croatia, and local institutions, opening new horizons for collaboration and research.

The driving force behind this collaboration is none other than Dr. Francis Brassard, a faculty member at RIT Croatia, who has played a pivotal role in mediating this transformative project. The Archives have received a grant from the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media to facilitate this installation, fostering hopes of an enduring partnership between RIT, both in Rochester and Croatia and the Archives.

The MISHA project, spearheaded by RIT, is a revolutionary multispectral imaging system that has garnered significant attention for its capacity to unveil hidden, faded, or damaged texts and illustrations on various mediums, including parchment, paper, and thermal fax paper. What sets MISHA apart is its impressive range of 16 distinct wavelengths, spanning from ultraviolet to infrared, enabling it to delve into the depths of historical artifacts and reveal concealed information. Its easy portability is another distinctive feature, allowing researchers to effortlessly transport the system to different institutions, whether by car or by plane.

Leah Humenuck, one of the key figures in this project, is a PhD candidate in Color Science at the Munsell Color Science Laboratory at RIT. Her research interests lie in imaging, reproduction, and lighting for cultural heritage, a passion born from her background as a book and paper conservator. Holding a BS in Chemistry from Sweet Briar College and an MA with honors in Conservation from West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Leah brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the project.

On the other hand, Izzy Moyer, a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Museum Studies Program at RIT, has been deeply involved with the MISHA project since the summer of 2022. Her contributions have been invaluable to the successful implementation of the system.

RIT students holding a lecture at the RIT Croatia campus

RIT students holding a lecture at the RIT Croatia campus

But this remarkable initiative isn’t confined to Dubrovnik Archives alone. Izzy and Leah also held lectures at RIT Croatia’s Dubrovnik campus, showcasing the multifaceted implications of MISHA. In their first lecture, Izzy and Leah delved into the cultural heritage implications of introducing MISHA to libraries, archives, and any institution responsible for the preservation of ancient books and manuscripts.

The second lecture delved into the technical and IT aspects of MISHA and the broader project. This offered an insight into the intricate workings of the system, demonstrating the technical prowess that underpins its success.

In a world where the preservation of cultural heritage is of paramount importance, projects like MISHA, driven by dedicated individuals such as Izzy and Leah, are at the forefront of innovation.

They are rewriting the script of how we unlock the secrets of the past, forging connections between institutions, and setting the stage for a brighter future of preservation and exploration. As the spectral imaging system finds its new home in the Dubrovnik Archives, we can only anticipate the countless hidden treasures it will unveil, transcending borders and bridging the gap between technology and tradition.

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