C2C Care Course The Preservation of Our Global Photographic Heritage: Here, There and Everywhere
Participants will be introduced to the identification, degradation, and preservation of common photographic print materials, including the salted paper, albumen, silver gelatin, and chromogenic color processes. Ethical and other factors to consider in the preventative care of at-risk print materials will be outlined. We will address early direct positive processes – the daguerreotype, ambrotype and tintype – briefly. We’ll also discuss details pertaining to the manufacture, identification and preservation of gelatin dry plate and film-base negatives, along with basic considerations in the care of photographic albums. We’ll review preservation challenges related to large and diverse photographic collections with attention paid to the importance of proper environments and storage materials, emergency planning, and risk analysis. The value and significance of photography, global initiatives, and the pressing need to secure external funding and support through effective preservation advocacy will be emphasized throughout the webinar. A listing of key publications and online resources will be provided.
Following completion of the webinar, expected competencies and knowledge for all participants include:
- Familiarity with the fundamental physical and chemical properties of photographic print and negative collections and the causes and mechanisms of their deterioration.
- Basic knowledge of the technological developments of photography in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries with special focus on albumen, silver gelatin, and chromogenic print materials and glass plate and film base negatives.
- The ability to distinguish prominent 19th- and 20th-century photographic processes and to assess and articulate their preservation risk.
- Understanding of and appreciation for issues relating to preventive care of photographic collections, including appropriate environmental conditions; handling and maintenance procedures for storage; exhibition and display parameters and monitoring techniques; and emergency preparedness, mitigation, and response.
- Basic knowledge of best practices in photograph preservation and an understanding of the importance of risk assessment and preservation prioritization within a collection and the need to balance preservation and access.
- Appreciation for advocacy in the preservation of global cultural heritage. The ability to articulate why the preservation of our photographic heritage is vital and relevant.
This self-study program is presented as a series of recordings of a live course offered September 13-27, 2022. Please note that any assignments are designed for enrichment only and will not be reviewed.
We Can Work it Out: Day one will focus on the value and significance of photography with a goal toward strengthening advocacy skills, critical to the preservation of our photographic heritage. We will also address basic chemical principles and the material characteristics and components of photographic print and negative materials. This session will conclude with a brief discussion of early direct positive images – their manufacture and preservation challenges. Key text and online resources will be shared.
The Long and Winding Road: Day two will center entirely on 19th-and 20th-century photographic print materials: manufacture, identification, and deterioration with an emphasis on dominant processes, especially albumen, silver gelatin, and chromogenic. Participants will examine and study photographic print samples provided.
Help! Day three will center on 19th – and 20th- century photographic negative materials, including their manufacture, identification, deterioration, and preservation. Issues pertaining to the care of large, at-risk collections will be pursued. The value and significance of these amazing cultural records will be emphasized.
Eight Days a Week: Day four will examine photographic collections and holdings more holistically. Building on your collective knowledge of photographic print and negative materials and their vulnerabilities, this day will center on preservation planning and prioritization, fundamental concepts relating to collections care and emergency preparedness, and some of the types of collections, such as albums or lantern slides, typically held by collecting institutions that require our attention.
(Don’t) Let it Be and Across the Universe: Our final session will further review conclusions and collection care strategies shared in day four and return to our initial discussion from day one on the value and significance of our photographic heritage. Here we will address opportunities to actively engage and partner with institutional leadership and community members in our preservation efforts. Guidance centered on fundraising and development approaches – from foundations to corporate and individual donor investment – will be shared. Final questions on all topics related to the webinar content and next steps will be welcomed.
This course is coordinated and taught by Debra Hess Norris, Chair and Professor of Photograph Conservation, Art Conservation Department, University of Delaware (UD), and Director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC). For the past 40 years, Debra Hess Norris has authored 45 book chapters and articles and led 160+ workshops globally centered on the care and preservation of photographic materials, while working in partnership with conservation and allied professionals and community members, to strengthen awareness and relevant collection care practices globally from Benin to Beijing, Boston to Bogota.
Course assistants are Annabelle Camp, textile, and organic materials conservation, WUDPAC Class of 2022; Ashley Stanford, photograph conservation, WUDPAC Class of 2024; and Morrigan Kelley, a 2022 UD undergraduate in art conservation with an interest in photograph conservation.
Registration Fee: $89*
Connecting to Collections Care courses are made possible in part by generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Debra Hess Norris (Moderator)
Chair, Department of Art Conservation and Professor of Photograph Conservation
University of Delaware
Norris has authored more than 45 articles/ book chapters on the care of photographic materials and taught/secured support for 170+ preservation workshops and initiatives worldwide from China to Benin. With Jennifer Jae Gutierrez, she co-edited – Issues in the Conservation of Photographs – published by the GCI (2010). Today, with Bertrand Lavedrine and Nora W. Kennedy, she is co-editing a book with 82 authors worldwide on the conservation of photographic and image collections. Current board service includes the Alliance for HBCU Museums and Galleries, Foundation for the Advancement in Conservation, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Art Materials, American Friends of the National Gallery of Denmark, chair of the ICOM-CC Fund, the University of Delaware Board of Trustees, and advisory councils, including Our World Heritage and the External Advisory Board for NYU Abu Dhabi. Norris was the chair of Heritage Preservation (2003- 2008) and president of the AIC (1993-97) and has led many preservation initiatives worldwide. She has worked with APOYOnline to develop workshops in Colombia, Cuba, and Brazil and co-led the Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative (MEPPI) with the Arab Image Foundation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Getty Conservation Institute.
A Fellow of AIC and IIC, she has received many deeply meaningful professional awards In 2002, Norris was inducted into the University of Delaware's Alumni Wall of Fame. She has received the AIC Rutherford John Gettens Merit Award for outstanding service (1998), the Sheldon and Caroline Keck Award for excellence in the education of conservation professionals (2004), the AIC University Products Award for distinguished achievement in the conservation of cultural property (2008), and the College Art Association/ AIC Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation (2016). In May 2018, Norris was named a Francis Alison Scholar, UD’s top faculty honor.
Outside of conservation, Norris has served UD as an interim associate dean for the arts, the humanities, social sciences, and graduate education and as vice provost for graduate and professional education – all at UD, a university she treasures. Grounded by her beloved family, Debbie believes strongly in the power and potential of our profession to strengthen cultural understanding and to foster joy and well-being. Additional passions teal, and (no surprise if you read the webinar agenda), the Beatles. She is grateful for the help of all course assistants and the C2C staff!
Morrigan Kelley (Moderator)
Conservation Teaching Assistant
University of Delaware
Morrigan is a 2022 graduate from the University of Delaware with majors in Art Conservation and Art History and a minor in Museum Studies. In addition to completing her degree, Morrigan also earned a graduate certificate in Historic Preservation.
Since graduating, Morrigan has been working with photographic collections at the University of Delaware, library collections at Hagley Museum and Library, and paintings at Winterthur Museum. She plans to continue learning about different materials and different fields in order to be an advocate for interconnectivity between disciplines.
Annabelle F. Camp (Moderator)
Textile and Organic Materials Conservation
WUDPAC Class of 2022
Annabelle is a 2022 graduate of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. She has trained in some of the world’s leading textile conservation labs, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Abegg-Stiftung, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Bellie is passionate about cultural heritage advocacy and outreach. She strives to make source community engagement and collaboration an integral part of her conservation practice. She believes in placing the power of preservation in stakeholders’ hands and has successfully led digital outreach and repatriation projects with this goal.
In addition to exploring the material questions surrounding textiles and organic objects, Bellie is actively investigating the ways in which the cultural heritage sector can improve its financial and environmental sustainability through grant-writing, consulting, and nonprofit volunteer positions