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SPRI Review 2005: Picture Library

Picture Library

The Herbert Ponting archive of glass plate negatives, taken whilst Ponting was on Captain Scott's British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-13, was acquired at the beginning of the year. A special exhibition of some of the photographs, made from the original negatives, has been produced. The combination of photographs and original objects from the expedition give an unrivalled view of what polar exploration and research was like at the time. The exhibition runs until the end of March 2006, it will then be shown at several venues around the country including the Antarctic Treaty Partners Consultative Meeting XXIX in Edinburgh and Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. The Picture Library would like to thank the following people and organisations for their considerable financial assistance in the purchase, display and preservation of the Herbert Ponting archive of Antarctic glass plate negatives: the Heritage Lottery Fund, Friends of SPRI, UKAHT and Miss Ann Parry.

The Picture Library continues to assist many visitors and enquirers from all over the world with their research on photographic material for use in a variety of publications, television programmes, lectures and museum exhibitions. This year, photographic material has been supplied for exhibitions at the Australian National Maritime Museum and National Maritime Museum, Cornwall, in Falmouth. Photographic material has also been supplied for the books Scott of the Antarctic, by David Crane, Scott's Journals (editor Max Jones), Explorer's Eye (editors Fergus Fleming and Annabel Merullo), and to Keo Films who are making a six-part documentary about Scott and Amundsen's race to the South Pole for the BBC.

The preventive conservation programme continues with the gradual process of digitally copying all of the Ponting glass-plate negatives by a professional conservator. The negatives will each be individually wrapped in conservation quality enclosures, catalogued and placed in the appropriate storage facilities. As part of the Institute's commitment to continuing professional training, the Picture Library Manager has attended a number of courses including "Effective emergency planning for museums" run by the Museum Association and a Cellulose Acetate Microfilm Forum at the British Library. In October, the Institute hosted the annual seminar of the Photographic Materials Conservation Group. The Picture Library would like to acknowledge the invaluable help given by the team of volunteers - Angela Haines, Jennifer Hirsh, Sally Stonehouse and Winifred Ware.

Lucy Martin