Campus News

View Year

Juniata Awarded Grant to Catalog, Preserve Photo Archives

(Posted August 23, 2001)

The Juniata College Museum of Art was recently awarded an $8,550 grant by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission that will make it possible to catalog and re-house the college?s extensive photographic archives.

The collection consists of approximately 6,000 historic photographs, postcards, and photographic negatives that document the history and culture of Huntingdon County and Juniata College from the 1870s to the 1950s. Specifically, the money will be used to purchase archival materials that will ensure the long-term preservation of the artifacts. Additionally, the grant will pay the salary of a part-time project archivist who will describe, arrange and prepare each image for archival storage.

"Through the preservation of this cultural resource, the public will have access to a collection of archival materials previously inaccessible. Researchers who are interested in the history of Huntingdon County will be able to use the museum database to search for imagery relating to the cultural and historical heritage of this county," said Nancy Siegel, museum curator. "Individuals who rely on the Internet for their research will locate the Juniata College Museum of Art via the museum Web site and the public at large will be able to view selections from this collection either privately by appointment, or as part of a public exhibition at the museum."

The collection has been in existence since the 1960s when the college?s vice president for college relations, Harold Brumbaugh, sought to maintain a repository for historical documents relating to Huntingdon County to be housed on Juniata?s campus. The collection covers a number of subjects including, but not limited to: historical buildings and prominent sites of interest in Huntingdon; professional buildings and workers in Huntingdon County; landscape views of town and countryside; festive occasions and celebrations such as the 4th of July and building dedications in the 1890s; prominent figures and notable guests such as Theodore Roosevelt; and the founders of Juniata College. Additionally, the collection contains more than 100 photographs and print negatives from Lewis Emmert, a photographer of great importance to Huntingdon County. Emmert was renowned for capturing the people and places of Huntingdon County.

Despite the historical significance of the collection, all of the images have been stored with no formal organization or concern for archival longevity. The entire collection is in distress. None of the 6,000 images are housed currently in acid-free paper materials. In addition to staff and archival materials, the Juniata College Museum of Art will also purchase a digital humidiguide and datalogger to monitor the climate conditions of the storage space. In order to ensure the longevity of this collection of historic images, the museum is committed to the establishment and maintenance of archival conditions specific to the requirements of this collection.

"The desired result of this project will be an archivally secured collection of images which documents the historic significance of the people and places of Huntingdon County, arranged in chronological order by subjects, preserved in protective sleeves and stored in acid-free boxes," Siegel said. "A guide to the collection will be produced in the form of a searchable database by type, subject or name, which will serve ultimately to encourage and facilitate public access and research."

Siegel?s recently published book, Uncommon Visions of Juniata?s Past, is a collection of photographs from Juniata?s vast archives. The book is available at the Juniata College Bookstore, Barnes & Noble, and various privately owned bookstores.

The museum is located in historic Carnegie Hall (1907) at 17th and Moore streets in Huntingdon. Reach the museum by phone at (814) 641-3505. Museum hours are M-F, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sat., noon to 4 p.m. For more information, visit the Juniata College Web site at http://www.juniata.edu/

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.