The Logan Museum is pleased to announce it was awarded a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to rehouse images from its photograph collection in cold storage. The museum curates over 29,000 color slides, black & white and color photographs, lantern slides, and nitrate and acetate negatives that date from the late 1890s to the present. These images document ethnographic and archaeological fieldwork undertaken by Beloit faculty and students, the museum’s role as a teaching laboratory, and the museum’s exhibition history.
In 2012 the Logan was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to conduct a conservation assessment of the photograph collection. The resulting report identified conservation priorities, which will be implemented through the IMLS-funded project. Because nitrate and acetate film negatives present serious preservation, health, and safety concerns (nitrate films can spontaneously combust under adverse conditions), cold storage is recommended. In addition, color slides and prints will fade due to the instability of the dyes unless housed in cold storage. The Logan will purchase a new freezer and rehouse negatives and color prints and slides in vapor-proof packaging to ensure long-term preservation. Cold storage will buy the time needed to make long-term decisions about duplication options and priorities.
Funding will also allow the museum to consult with a paper and photograph conservator. The conservator will benchmark progress and present a hands-on workshop to museum studies students. Student assistants will help implement the project, gain invaluable knowledge about current best practice, and have the opportunity to work with a conservator during the onsite consultation. Completion of the project will allow the museum to address a high-priority collections need and will ensure volatile photographic resources are preserved so future digitization and use is possible.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, our grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.