The George Eastman Museum holds a vast, historically important and aesthetically unparalleled collection of daguerreotypes by America’s acknowledged masters of the medium, Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes. The collection of more than 1,200 daguerreotypes constitutes the largest repository of work by Southworth & Hawes. In 2008, the Eastman Museum received a multiyear National Endowment for the Arts–Save America's Treasures grant that enabled the stabilization and rehousing of these unique and culturally significant objects. This grant allowed Eastman Museum staff to improve the physical preservation of these daguerreotypes and increase access to the collection.
This Google Art Talk, hosted in conjunction with Google Cultural Institute, features Eastman Museum staff Taina Meller (Conservator in Charge), Ralph Wiegandt (Senior Project Conservator), Lisa Hostetler (Curator in Charge, Department of Photography), and Jamie M. Allen (Associate Curator, Department of Photography). They discuss Southworth & Hawes, the daguerreotype process, the findings leading up to the grant application, and the efforts toward creating an oxygen-free housing environment for these objects.