Monday, May 2, 2011

Reorganizing Photographic History

By John Hart, Assistant Curator of Collections

In other posts I’ve mentioned the thousands of glass plate negatives in the collection of the New York State Historical Association, but something exciting is happening to those plates once again - they’re being moved. Not off-site, but rather into a newly renovated space in our storage facility. We’re in the midst of a project that will give us heat, ventilation, humidity control and air conditioning control of the space; part of that is reshousing nearly 60,000 glass plate negatives. It’s a long and tedious project that requires us to be very careful as we move groups of plates from one shelving system to the next, not only because they are fragile, but we need to keep them in order to find them later.

Current storage area for the plates is pretty tight and difficult to maneuver.

As difficult as it is to move these plates, the project is coming along well. With the help of assistants like Elizabeth Nerland of the Cooperstown Graduate Program, and others, we’re making steady progress towards completing this phase of the project. It’s a worthwhile cause and will allow us to access the plates quickly and easier than before, as well as consolidate our storage space, freeing up desperately needed space for other objects.

New storage area for the plates is open and more accessible.

It’s a win-win for access and preservation, even if it will take us a few weeks to move the plates and make all of the other necessary changes in our database.

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