About this site

Presenting the art and science of albumen printing, this site brings together 19th Century technical instruction, contemporary research, an online forum for conservation treatment and a wealth of images. This unique resource is dedicated to those who value the application of technology to the creative process of image making. The site was first shown (see image of preview event) on September 23, 2000, in Kent, Connecticut at the Conservation of Contemporary Photographs symposium. See also Press Release concerning the site launch

The site is the result of a partnership of art conservators backed by institutional support.  The key personnel share a strong interest in photography and a commitment to using new media for education and research.

Institutional backing

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) funded the project from a grant received through the Information Management program. Mary Carroll, Information Management Director at NCPTT oversaw the review process for the proposal and remained actively engaged in the project development process.

The Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, California sponsored the project. Museum director Richard Gadd supported the project through administration of the grant application and project development process and contribute an exhibition in the Gallery on albumen printing in Japan.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources who host the site. 


Timothy Vitale and Paul Messier conceived the site and did the development work to secure sponsorship by the Monterey Museum of Arty and financial backing through the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).

Tim developed and wrote much of the original content for the site with an emphasis on science and technology, and solicited content for the gallery. He worked through many of the imaging issues including the conversion and restoration of the faded microfiche used to illustrate the Robert Sobieszek, British Masters of the Albumen Print monograph. Working with Messier, he shot MiniDV video of Doug Munson, in Housatonic MA, and did the NLE (Final Cut Pro 1.2.5 w/ Media Cleaner EZ) for the video clips. He also created the clips for the ESEM video from the original VHS master made at the ElectroScan Corporation.

Paul created the organizational structure of the site and managed early versions before handoff to stanford.edu. He cataloged the historic articles and scoured various libraries for historic publications on albumen printing. Paul wrote much of the original content, including the topic headings in the Library. He coordinated the unending efforts to obtain permission to reproduce articles under copyright (pre-1911). With Vitale, he helped shoot the video of Doug Munson making an albumen print.

Tim and Paul also contribute many of the articles found in the library on the conservation science of albumen photographs.

Walter Henry converted virtually every article and monograph presented on this site through scanning, optical character recognition (OCR) and intensive editing. As the webmaster of Conservation Online, Walter maintains the servers and provides the technical expertise that keep the site up and running.

John Burke designed the graphical user interface for the site as well as the site navigation tools and did most of the Perl and Javascript programming. John was also responsible for development and construction of the Treatment Forum, and for providing modest "borg to geek" translation services.

Paul MessierWalter HenryUm...who's
this??Tim Vitale


Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film assisted us in obtaining permission to use images found on the GEH's Schankman Image Server and the Sobieszek, British Masters of the Albumen Print exhibition catalog.

Toddy Munson and Doug Munson of the Chicago Albumen Works generously lent their considerable expertise to create video footage dealing with the creation of albumen prints.

José Orraca, Conservator of Photographs, Kent CT, provided ongoing encouragement.  In addition, he supported the initial treatment-based research project the culmination of which is this web site.

James Reilly, Director of the Image Permanence Institute granted us permission to use his extensive monograph, The Albumen and Salted Paper Book and several more key articles dealing with conservation research as applied to albumen prints.

Andrew Robb, photography conservator at the Library of Congress, gave us access to his database of cartes de visites based on the library's American Memory Project.

Robert Sobieszek, Curator of Photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, granted permission to reproduce the essays he wrote for the 1976 exhibition British Masters of the Albumen Print.

Diane Tafilowski, photography conservator at Boston Art Conservation handled copyright permission requests and did a great deal of research using 19th century journals in the Boston Public Library.


Albumen Photographs: History, Science and Preservation

Copyright 2000. John Burke, Walter Henry, Paul Messier, Timothy Vitale and Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources. All rights reserved. For information on use of individual articles, please contact the authors.

This web site’s contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the National Park Service, the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, The Monterey Museum of Art or Stanford University.