About the Hermitage Photograph Conservation Initiative

The Hermitage Photograph Conservation Initiative was launched in the spring of 2010 to establish a photograph conservation department at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  The initiative is funded by a four-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  It is administered by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation and has six components:

  1. Provide essential staff education and training in photograph conservation
  2. Expand and improve photograph cataloguing practice
  3. Implement best practices for digital conservation documentation
  4. Provide accessibility to essential photograph conservation literature
  5. Provide advice on the design of a new, dedicated photograph conservation laboratory
  6. Provide materials and equipment for the new laboratory

The resulting photograph conservation laboratory will be the first of its kind in Russia.  The initiative grows out of priorities identified in a Mellon-funded survey of photograph collections at the Hermitage conducted in 2008-2009.  Initially, the activities will focus on the collections of historic photographs in the History of Russian Culture Department but will eventually serve the estimated 472,000 photographs held by at least 44 departments within the museum.

The co-directors for the initiative are Paul Messier, conservator in private practice in Boston, who conducted the initial survey, and Vyacheslav Fedorov, Head of the History of Russian Culture Department, State Hermitage Museum.  Please see the full list of the many partners and funders, advisors, and other personnel elsewhere on this site.

More information about the initiative can be found by following the links on the left side of this page.

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