Michaelle Biddle, head of preservation services, presented a lecture titled “Saving Nigeria’s Islamic Manuscript Heritage” Sept. 17 at Columbia University. Biddle has studied Islamic manuscripts all over the world.
In March 2008, Biddle went on a five-week sabbatical under a U.S. Ambassador’s Cultural Preservation Fund Grant to survey Northern Nigerian private and public collections of Islamic Manuscripts. These manuscripts are similar to those in Timbuktu, a World Heritage Site. Her survey resulted in recommendations for the preservation and conservation of the manuscripts.
She returned to Nigeria in August 2008 training two local conservation teams: one in Sokoto, the home of the Sultan to West African Muslims, and the other in Kaduna at the Nigerian National Archives, under a U.S. State Department Speaker’s Grant.
In March 2009, she returned to head up a team conserving a large, multi-generational family collection in Yola.