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SPRI Review 2003: Picture Library

Picture Library

The Picture Library continues to assist many visitors from around the world with their research of polar photographic material for use in a variety of publications, films, lectures, and museum exhibitions. Our collections have provided material for the exhibition on William Speirs Bruce at the Royal Museum, part of the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh, and to the NHK, the Japanese equivalent of the BBC.

A major emphasis this year has been on the conservation requirements of the photographic collection. The funds secured by the charging of fees for reproduction rights for the use of photographs from the collection has enabled us to improve the storage conditions in the Picture Library store room. New shelving and boxes were delivered at the beginning of the year and, with the aid of the Picture Library volunteers, the vast majority of the photographs and negatives are now catalogued and listed and enclosed in appropriate conservation quality material, rehoused in appropriate conservation quality boxes and placed on easily accessible shelves and drawers. We have also had reciprocal visits from those working with the Royal Commonwealth Society Collection at the University Library, Cambridge, and from the Picture Library at the Royal Geographical Society, London.

With the generous aid of the Friends of SPRI, the very large album of photographs taken by Herbert Ponting on Captain Scott's British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition, 1910-13, has now been scanned in its entirety and has been repaired and boxed by Nicholas Hadgraft, a conservator who has previously carried out the conservation work on the Discovery and Endurance albums. The album is currently with the Museum Conservation Services, Imperial War Museum, Duxford, undergoing expert photographic conservation work on two photographs.

The Picture Library would like to acknowledge the invaluable help given by the team of volunteers — Ailsa McQueen, Sally Stonehouse, Angela Haines, Winifred Ware, Barbara Debenham, and Jennifer Hirsch.

Lucy Martin