In times gone by, original photos were put on display at the museum with the inevitable results in terms of fading.
Technology has made copying and printing much easier in recent years and these days we display copies, often much enlarged when compared with the originals. We might crop out large areas of sky or plain foreground. Any other alterations are recorded and reported to viewers.
Recently, the process of copying photos has taken almost a conveyer belt speed. Museum friend Roger, a fairly new resident in Market Lavington, came forward to offer his time and the services of a high speed copier. Here’s Roger in action.
The kit consists of a truly hefty laptop computer and the copier, the device in the middle. Photos can be stacked in the upper tray and the machine takes them in one by one and churns them out. It takes about 2 seconds to do both sides of the photo – and yes, the backs are important to us for the museum code numbers and, in some cases, other information.
The nearer computer is only used for checking all is well.
The slowest part of the process is taking original photos out of storage and then returning them afterwards. In a two hour session, Rog and our curator can get both sides of more than 300 photos digitised and stored electronically. Scanning is done at 600 dots per inch, a minimum museum standard.
Please note that the table we work on is used as a dual surface. It has displays and regular readers might recognise the J Sheppard paper bag and photos of Jim Sheppard, the Easterton baker. But these items are protected under a Perspex sheet so the large table can still be used for research or other purposes.
So far, more than 1000 of our photographs have been digitised and stored. It’s a truly wonderful device with a truly wonderful operator. We extend huge thanks to Roger.