The Regis Santo Collection at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, features over 700 Southwestern religious and cultural objects from the late eighteenth century to the present. A santo (Spanish for saint) is a painting on a wooden panel or a sculptural carving. The university has only a small budget for the care of the collection and no dedicated staff person devoted to its care.
When not on display in the main library, the santos are stored in a climate-controlled archives vault, but the display conditions are what worry the collection’s caretakers. The display space in the main library is not climate-controlled, so wooden objects that came into the collection with significant cracking due to the dry climate of the Southwest are compromised and subject to further deterioration.
The university is currently seeking a long-term solution to these display problems in the form of a new study center that will provide proper environmental conditions and better access to the collection, allowing more research to take place on these important cultural objects.