Saving Cleveland’s Past for the Future: Photograph Conservation

General Photograph Collection Conservation Project*

The Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University received an Ohio LSTA Conservation Grant to conserve material from our General Photograph Collection, which consists of hundreds of prints, slides, and negatives in various sizes, ages, and physical conditions. The collection contains material in need of a variety of conservation interventions, but for this project focused on:

  • Flattening. This is the most prevalent conservation need, as material coming to us had sometimes been allowed to become anywhere from semi-curled to tightly rolled.
  • Cleaning. Some of the prints in this collection came to us from the basements of industrial buildings, or donors’ attics and garages where they’d been for decades. One series of prints resided for a century on the walls of a famous downtown bar. Consequently, portions of the collection are very grimy and coated with soot.
  • Housing. There are materials, such as panoramic photographs and broken glass negatives, which need special housing to protect them from the elements or be safe for handling. Boxes and sleeves need to be specially ordered for these items, as appropriate.

  • Paper conservator Jamye Jamison provided two days of training to CSU staff on how to assemble a humidification chamber and a blotter stack. She also demonstrated how to handle treated objects and house them properly.

    *This project was funded through a federal Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio. The content does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the granting agencies.


    Browse the Saving Cleveland’s Past for the Future: Photograph Conservation Collections:

    Photoconservation Workshop I by Jamye Jamison

    Photoconservation Workshop II by Jamye Jamison