Hill Museum & Manuscript Library dedicates the Maxine H. Wallin Classroom

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October 21, 2014

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John's University has dedicated its new classroom to librarian, philanthropist and past HMML Board of Overseers member Maxine H. Wallin. Wallin served on the HMML board from 1996 to 2004.

The Maxine H. Wallin classroom is part of the recent $2.3 million HMML renovation, and was made possible by a generous grant from the Wallin Foundation.

The classroom seats 25 students and is equipped with the interactive technologies and tools required for teaching, learning and accessing and sharing information. The classroom will be used by the students and faculty of Saint Johns' University and the College of Saint Benedict, as well as for public programming.

"HMML's manuscript collections are irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration that must be studied and shared with the world," Wallin said at a dedication ceremony. "It is my hope that this classroom will facilitate manuscript research, strengthen teaching and provide opportunities for life-long learning in the humanities. The Wallin Foundation is proud to support the classroom project."

"Mrs. Wallin lent her leadership to the HMML board during a critical time in our almost 50-year history" said Fr. Columba Stewart, OSB, HMML's executive director. "In 2003, the HMML Board made the bold decision to focus our preservation work on Middle Eastern manuscript collections that were at risk of disappearing because of war, neglect and the accelerating emigration of minority Christian communities. Since then, HMML has digitized over 25,000 manuscripts from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and the Old City of Jerusalem. The fate of many of the manuscripts HMML digitized in Syria is unknown; perhaps thousands of manuscripts in Iraq were destroyed after the recent advance of ISIS/IL forces. HMML now holds the only record of their existence. It is most fitting that HMML's first classroom be named for a visionary woman committed to preserving these documents and sharing them with the world for scholarship and study."

Since 1965, HMML has formed partnerships with over 540 libraries and archives to photograph more than 140,000 medieval, renaissance and early-modern manuscripts from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India. HMML is a global organization that advances manuscript research and scholarly inquiry by digitally preserving, providing access to, and interpreting manuscript collections from around the world. HMML places a special priority on manuscripts from regions endangered by war, political instability, or other threats.