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Submitted photo

Submitted photo

Although the small boy in this photograph has not been positively identified, contextual clues provide an approximate date — about 1900.

Putting old photos in focus

The St. Marys Museum’s popular seminar series starts the 2013 portion of its program on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Museum. The topic is Caring for Historic Photographs.

This seminar will give participants practical advice about evaluating the significance and historic context of their old photographs and how best to preserve them. Each participant is invited to bring one photograph and to explain why it is significant. The samples can be photographs of ancestors, a family home or other building, a landscape or a street scene.

Mary Smith, who has worked with the Museum’s photograph collection for many years, will lead a short discussion about what makes these photographs valuable. She will also explain some contextual clues that Museum staff use to try to determine the date of a photograph.

Marianne Ferguson, who is herself a photographer and who works as a volunteer to help digitize the Museum’s photograph collection, will demonstrate how to scan old photographs safely and create electronic folders to store them so that they can be easily retrieved for reference. She will also show how to “touch up” an electronic copy of an old photograph to get rid of distracting marks such as stains and wrinkles without damaging the integrity of the original.

A highlight will be Curator/Archives Assistant Amy Cubberley’s hands-on workshop in the second hour, demonstrating the best archival methods for preserving personal photographs. Participants will be able to practise on the photographs they brought with them to the seminar.

Registration is now open for this session. Cost is $10 for Museum members and $12 for non-members. Pre-registration is necessary so that materials for the hands-on portion can be prepared. Visit the Museum during open hours: 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or call 519-284-3556 to reserve a place.

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