About The Met/ Conservation and Scientific Research/ Photograph Conservation

Photograph Conservation

The Photograph Conservation Department, part of the Sherman Fairchild Center for Works on Paper and Photograph Conservation, is dedicated to the preservation, conservation, and research of photographs from the development of the medium in 1839 through the digital prints and time-based media art of the present day. Conservators undertake research on The Met collection, the technical history, and the characterization of photographs, in addition to performing documentation, analysis, and treatments for exhibitions and loans, as well as addressing ongoing preservation needs.

Established in 2001 as a distinct area of expertise, Photograph Conservation grew to an independent Museum department in 2015. Working in close collaboration with the Department of Photographs, Modern and Contemporary Art, the Department of Scientific Research, and the Photograph Studio, Photograph Conservation is also actively leading the Museum-wide effort to establish a time-based media art conservation program at The Met.

Dedicated to advocacy and active in education, Photograph Conservation provides lectures for specialized scholars, students, and the general public. Students from a number of international graduate conservation programs complete research fellowships and internships within the lab, benefiting from the professional expertise and active schedule of this vital part of the Museum. In addition to office, treatment, and digital documentation areas, the conservation lab includes a darkroom equipped to recreate historic processes, a technical library, and growing study collections. Analytical equipment includes a spectrophotometer, a microfading tester, a glossmeter, a digital micrometer, a standardized raking-light digital microscope (texturescope), and a Zeiss Axiocam imaging microscope. Additional methods of analysis are carried out in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Scientific Research.

Learn more about present research, staff, related activities, and upcoming events in the Photograph Conservation Department's quarterly Bulletin. To request previous issues of the Bulletin please email mollie.anderson@metmuseum.org.