The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML), sponsored by Saint John's Abbey and University, has been preserving manuscripts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East since 1965. HMML is the only institution in the world exclusively dedicated to the photographic preservation and study of manuscripts, with a particular emphasis on manuscripts located in places where war, security, or economic conditions pose a threat to their survival or accessibility.
To date, HMML has built the world's largest collection of manuscript images, having photographed over 100,000 manuscripts totaling more than 30 million pages, from 250 libraries in 16 countries. At the present time, HMML is actively at work in more than a dozen sites in the Middle East, Western and Eastern Europe, Ethiopia, and India.
Many of HMML's most significant holdings can be viewed through Vivarium, a portal to HMML's digital collections at www.hmml.org/vivarium/. By means of online access to HMML's digital manuscript collections, the world has the ability to compare historical traditions, piecing together an intricate past for the sake of present understanding.
Considered a world-wide leader in the development of electronic cataloguing for manuscripts and the collection and display of digital images of manuscripts, HMML works closely with national and international organizations such as the Library of Congress, the Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes (IRHT) in Paris, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In addition to its work in manuscript preservation, HMML is the home at Saint John's of the historic Rare Book Collection, the James Kritzeck Autograph Collection, and the Arca Artium Collection. The rare book holdings total approximately 10,000 volumes, including many manuscripts, incunabula (books printed before 1501), and examples of fine printing up to the present day. Arca Artium contains some 4500 prints (including works by significant 20th century artists), hundreds of art objects, and a supporting reference library focused on typography, calligraphy, print-making and the book arts. All of these materials are available to students, faculty, and visiting researchers through HMML.
HMML is also the home of "The Saint John's Bible," the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned in the west for 500 years. The Bible is being created by a team of scribes and artists in the United Kingdom and the United States, and uniquely blends ancient methods and materials with modern images and text. Selected pages from The Saint John's Bible are always on exhibition in the HMML Gallery. Tours and presentations are available by calling (320) 363-3351.