The preservation and rehousing of over 3500 glass plate negatives in the Holtermann collection is now underway. Assistant conservators in the Collection Preservation and Storage branch have recently begun cleaning and rehousing the glass plate negatives in readiness for their imminent digitisation.
The negatives are currently housed in non archival glassine envelopes and metal boxes. The assistant conservators are cleaning the glass of each negative, and then rehousing them in four flap folders and specially constructed acid free board boxes. The new enclosures we are using have passed the photographic activity test (PAT). The PAT was developed by the Image Permanence Institute of the USA to test the quality of photographic storage materials and indicates whether a material is likely to damage photographs, negatives, slides, motion picture films, etc.
The assistant conservators are currently working on the quarter plate negatives of which there are 31 boxes with approximately 100 in each box! So far they have spotted the local schools of Hill End, a Chinese boarding house and shopfronts with one looking very much like the Gem saloon in Deadwood (an entertaining HBO series about a gold rush town)