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Subject: Flash photography

Flash photography

From: Helen Coxon <helenc>
Date: Thursday, August 8, 1996
In response to Jennifer Queree's request for feedback on the use of
flash photography in museum galleries: we would also be considered
party poopers.  As far as the general public is concerned, the use
of cameras without flash or tripod is permitted anywhere in the
museum with the possible exception of occasional temporary exhibits.
No approval or special clearance is required.  Flash photography is
permitted only in the Dinosaur gallery (skeletons and dioramas) and
in the Ming Tomb (only unpainted stone artefacts.)

Special requests for the purposes of scholarship may be considered
individually, with input from the Conservation Dept. if necessary.
Commercial film shoots, etc, are a whole different ball game.

In practice, the 'no flash' rule is difficult to enforce.  The rule
is not well posted, and there are insufficient security personnel to
keep all the galleries  under constant surveillance.  The net result
is that on the occasions when I am out in the galleries (a couple of
times a week, for an hour or so at a time), I usually have to ask 2
or 3 people not to use flash.  In almost every instance, they are
unaware of the restriction, so the obvious answer would seem to be
larger, more prominent signs (if indeed we are that concerned.)

An added difficulty, of course, is the increasing preponderance of
cameras with automatic flash in response to low light levels.  On
many or most of these there is no mechanism for turning off the
flash, so the options are a photograph with flash, or no photograph
at all.  A better selection of postcards and slides in the museum
gift shop might go some way towards reducing the problem.

Helen Coxon
Conservator
Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto
Canada

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:17
                 Distributed: Thursday, August 8, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-17-007
                                  ***
Received on Thursday, 8 August, 1996

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