Preservation of Photographic Materials

Twice a year, Danae Renieri instructs a 4-week asynchronous course on the Preservation of Photographic Materials on the learning platform Preserve This which specializes in online preservation courses and topics related to preservation and collections care for librarians, archivists, museum professionals, and related fields.

Course Description
Photographic materials present unique preservation challenges in cultural heritage collections. This course deals with those challenges and offers an introduction to the principles of photographic preservation. Students will be introduced to the history of photography and learn to identify the various photographic processes, from the daguerreotype to the digital print, as well as their deterioration characteristics. Emphasis will be placed on understanding preventive conservation actions and implementing long-term preservation strategies, such as maintaining a good environment and following the safe care, handling and storage guidelines which help extend the longevity of photographic materials. This course is intended to help collections managers, registrars, curators, librarians, archivists, or anyone whose responsibility is to care for a photograph collection.

Learning Objectives
By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the major historic photographic processes.
  • Explain the ways that photographs deteriorate.
  • Recall and apply proper care and handling guidelines for photographs.
  • Design safe storage environments for photographic materials.


★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“This course surpassed my expectations. The photographic process identification and the deterioration of photographic materials assignments were wonderful. Great class with great instruction!”
– Kelsey M., Book and Paper Conservator-Restorer, Bronx, NY

“This course was full of valuable information from beginning to end. The readings and resources provided with each session will give my colleagues and I the tools to tackle future preservation and digitization projects with confidence. Thank you for the wealth of information provided in this course!”
– Anita D., Photograph Digitization Assistant, Calgary, AB

“I learned so, so much from this class and I’m so happy I took it. My colleagues and I have met every week to discuss my notes and this has spurred many discussions about the future of our photographic collection. My next step is to create a project proposal for improving the storage and care of our collection. I feel like I have the knowledge now to do so. The resources provided were incredibly helpful.”
–  Kelli H., Collections Specialist, Bloomington, IN


For more information about the course or to enroll click here for the Fall term and here for the Spring term.