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Fundamentals of Photograph Preservation


Fundamentals of Photograph Preservation is a six-session online course that offers an in-depth introduction to the preservation of photographs, including their identification, deterioration, and care. Participants will learn how to recognize various photographic processes ranging from daguerreotypes to contemporary prints. Preservation problems associated with specific processes will also be studied. The course will address storage concerns and preservation priorities, including environmental guidelines, enclosures, and proper care and handling. The course will include an optional assignment in which participants create a 1-2 page preservation plan of short-, mid-, and long-term goals for a selected photographic collection within their institution or in a virtual sample collection provided by NEDCC.


This course is intended for individuals who want to learn in more detail how to care for photographs including curators, collection managers, exhibit preparators, catalogers, archivists, photographers and collectors.


Each 90-minute session includes a live lecture and Q&A session.

  • Session 1: IntroductionPhotograph Preservation Checklist
    An overview of the course and an introduction on how to prioritize your photographic materials for a preservation plan. Introduction to optional assignments and online tools to help identify different types photographic materials.

  • Session 2: Paper, Glass and Plastic: Id and Care of Negatives
    Calotypes, collodion wet plate, gelatin dry plate; nitrate, acetate, and polyester film base materials.

  • Session 3: Finding a Balance: Caring for Cased Images
    Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes.

  • Session 4: Photographic Prints: Salt to Silver Gelatin
    19th and 20th century photographs such as salted paper, albumen, collodion (glossy and matte), and silver gelatin prints with a discussion on the difference between printing-out paper and developing-out papers.

  • Session 5: Color and Contemporary Photography 
    Basic color and digital output media processes and preservation approaches to contemporary photography.

  • Session 6: Review of Course and Preservation Plans
    Participants will be encouraged to provide images of photographs from their collections ahead of time for an online discussion.


NEDCC’s Senior Photograph Conservator Monique Fischer has specialized in the conservation of photographic materials since 1994. In collaboration with the Image Permanence Institute, she was awarded a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1997 for the development of A-D Strips, a tool that detects deterioration in acetate film. Monique lectures extensively on photograph conservation in the US and abroad, and has been awarded two fellowships by the J. Paul Getty Trust to investigate the longevity of digital output media.  She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). Monique received a B.A. in Chemistry from Smith College, and a M.S. in Art Conservation with a concentration in Photographic Materials from the Winterthur / University of Delaware Program.



Contact: [email protected]