The grant will support efforts to provide online access to the museum’s Alden Scott Boyer photography collection
Rochester, N.Y., August 15, 2019—The George Eastman Museum has received a grant award of $350,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access, Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Program, to support its project Preserving and Improving Access to the Boyer Collection. The grant funds will allow the museum to catalog and digitize the entire Boyer collection, giving the public complete access to images of the objects, as well as support the hiring of two project staff, a cataloguer and an object photographer, for the term of the grant.
“The Boyer Collection is one of the largest and most diverse gatherings of nineteenth-century British photography outside of the United Kingdom and features photographs by key American figures such as Southworth & Hawes and Carleton Watkins,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman Museum. “The collection itself had a profound impact on the genesis and development of the history of photography as a discipline and served as a touchstone for institutional and private collection-building across the continent.”
In 1951, Alden Scott Boyer, a Chicago-based chemical manufacturer, donated his private collection of photographs to the George Eastman Museum. At the time of its donation, the Boyer collection represented one of the finest and most extensive private collections of photography in the United States and has subsequently become one of the most significant public collections in the country for the study of nineteenth-century life, history, and culture.
As a result of limitations on the museum’s resources, its collections database currently accounts for only 6,000 of these photographs, inhibiting public access to the entirety of the collection. Now, with grant support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Eastman Museum will be able to catalog and digitize this important collection in its entirety.
The project is being overseen by Heather Shannon, PhD, associate curator of photography, and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2022. The project will result in public access to complete descriptions and high resolution images of the objects in the Boyer collection. Researchers, scholars, and the general public will be able to access the collection online through the museum’s website, eastman.org/collections-online.
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