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Subject: Daguerreotypes


From: Paul Messier <pmessier>
Date: Monday, July 17, 1995
Daguerreotypes often present unique challenges for conservators of
photographic materials.  Proper treatment requires a familiarity
with the basics of metals and glass corrosion.  Also, I think it is
fair to say that there is no abiding consensus within the field as
to what constitutes sound, proper treatment.  My advice would be to
take some time to gather opinions from several conservators of
photographic materials as well as from curators and scholars
familiar with the daguerreotype process.  From your brief
description, I think you will have no problem generating interest in
this material: these plates are possibly early examples of the
daguerreotype process and the size you describe would make these
plates especially important (larger format plates are more rare). As
a first step in the preservation of this group, my advice would be
to store the plates in as dry an environment as is practical (though
not lower than 30% RH or so).  Until you are comfortable with a
treatment plan, do not touch the surface of the plates and maintain
the existing glass and seals.

Paul Messier
Conservator of Photographs and Works on Paper
77 Griggs Rd. Brookline, MA 02146
+1 617 738 7072
Fax: +1 617 738 8841

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:11
                 Distributed: Wednesday, July 19, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-11-002
Received on Monday, 17 July, 1995

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