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History, Conservation, and Repair The history of photographic prints, and how best to care for and repair them.

History assignment

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Old 07-11-2004, 08:58 AM
Doug Nelson's Avatar
Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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History assignment

I thought this might be an enlightening project that we all can participate in:
  1. Pick a local (to you) history museum or historical society
  2. Contact them (any way you're comfortable with, email, phone, in person, etc.)
  3. Find out who their main photo person is
  4. Briefly interview that person about their opinion of digital photo restoration and any role it might play in their organization
  5. Report your findings back here to this thread
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Old 07-11-2004, 09:34 AM
Doug Nelson's Avatar
Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Here's the email I sent to my local history museum:

My name is Doug Nelson. I'm a member of RetouchPRO, a web community for photo restorers.

We've just started a community project aimed at canvassing leading historical societies to find out their opinions on digital photo restoration and its role in the modern museum. Perhaps you'd be kind enough to take a minute to answer a few questions (or forward this to the appropriate person)?

Does your organization use digital photo restoration?
Under what circumstances?
If you do use digital photo restoration, is the work done in-house?
Are there areas besides restoration where digital technology is important to historical photos?

Thank you for your time, I hope this wasn't an imposition.
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Old 07-17-2004, 12:23 PM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Oregon City, Oregon
Posts: 212
To restore or not to restore

Doug we have 5 local museums within a few miles of our showroom - none of them do any "restoration" work on their photos. In all cases, their primary objectives are...

1.) Creating exhibits that will be of interest to the community as a source of income. (One is spending $5,000 to rent a loan collection on photography from the Smithsonian for their major showing this summer).

2.) Preservation of the photos and other artifacts that have been donated to them.

I do some pro bono work for them from time to time and we are currently setting up an exhibit at a private museum (The Bomber on old Hwy 99E, a B17 plane brought to the location and set up above a gas station after the war) featuring WWII pilots, planes and other photos reproduced from our WWII clients.

As the exhibits we make up are from client photos (being used with permission of course), many of them have been restored, in fact we restored a number of photos of The Bomber it's self for a cover and feature story in a national magazine a few months back.

I'm sure other local museums would be receptive to help from the people here if they are willing to donate their time and resources for like type projects. In doing so you can help the museum make some money and promote your business in the process.

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators
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Old 07-17-2004, 04:59 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Jim has an excellent point. Many museums are starving for volunteers, and most wouldn't have the advanced skills to offer something like this. And even though it would be done out of altruism, it wouldn't be completely without career benefits. It would look remarkable on a resume or job application.

Also, I think I should mention that I haven't yet received a reply from my email. I kind of can't blame them, Jim's approach would be much more likely to get a result.
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