Peter Millward the CEO Nelson Provincial Museum spoke about the special collection of photographic plates stored on unsecured wooden shelves.
However first he talked about the Fifeshire which founded on the rock located in the middle of the natural entrance to the haven 27 February 1842. They are very proud of a wonderful gift given to the museum to treasure and preserve. This was an eye account from a diary written by an ancestor of a lady who now lives in Sardinia.
The museum has a project to move the glass plates from the wooden shelves to steel cases. When doing that they will copy them digitally.
The collection of 120000 plates are there to be sorted and photographed which will create a massive file of 12.5 terribites.
They have been publishing two of the photos each week and amazingly they managed to find out the names of the motor bike racers that they had published along with a story about them and their racing.
So far they have done 20000 but have plenty to go. The plan is to evntually put them all on line.
Those that are already on line can be printed for a small fee. Hanifins print out the prints via the net. By selling the prints they hope to fund the massive task in hand.
Interestingly about one in three of the plates have had hand done modifications to them to improve the look and remove unwanted blemishes. Clearly today’s practice of enhancing photos and air brushing out figures via programmes like Photoshop has its origins back in the glorious days when photographers would touch up glass plates with a knife or pencil. Isn’t interesting that we prefer to remember the past without blemishes.