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Monday, April 25, 2011

Broken Glass Plate Negatives: Storage and Imaging

April 24th-30th is National Preservation Week and May 1st is MayDay! Both events are created and hosted by archives and librarian entities in order to raise awareness for the care and emergency preparedness required for collections.

According to the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) website:

"ALA encourages libraries and other institutions to use Preservation Week to connect our communities through events, activities, and resources that highlight what we can do, individually and together, to preserve our personal and shared collections. Last year, over 65 events took place nationwide. View the 2010 Preservation Week Events in the U.S. in Google Maps. ALA would like to thank the founders, partners, and sponsors of Preservation Week for their generous support."

Make sure to check out the Society of American Archivists and the ALCTS's website for more details on how to participate and view links to helpful hints and tips that you can use for your archives, professional or personal!

Today, the Freer|Sackler Archives is participating by raising awareness for broken glass plate negatives, and to point you to resources on how you can properly store and image these gems.

Below, first photograph is a broken glass plate negative, set with dividers to hold all the shards in their proper place to prevent further damage or loss of image.  The second photograph is the broken glass plate negative scanned in-house with hardly a trace of all the broken fragment lines.  This set helps to illustrate that although a glass plate negative may seem broken beyond repair, you can still scan a beautiful image from it with patience and tender loving care.


Gulistan Palace [?], [1870s - 1930s] 1 11 Negative number 35.6 Caption: Bagh-i Atabeg
Antoin Sevruguin photographs collection, Freer|Sackler Archives.

You too, can save the images captured on broken glass plate negatives.  View the below resources for step by step guidance:

"Conservation Tip No. 4: A Method of Rehousing Glass Plate Negatives," Archives Outside blog.

"Storage of Glass Plate Negatives," Interpreter, Minnesota Historical Society, July 1999.

See sister blog The Bigger Picture, "Walking on Broken Glass," for more on broken glass plate negatives at the Smithsonian.

See other posts in the Smithsonian Collections Blog related to "Preservation."

Citation of Image:
Gulistan Palace [?], [1870s - 1930s] 1 11 Negative number 35.6 Caption: Bagh-i Atabeg
Antoin Sevruguin photographs collection, Freer|Sackler Archives

Rachael Cristine Woody
Freer|Sackler Archives

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