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Pantagraph gives 230,000 photo negatives to museum

Wed, 14 Nov 2012 15:46:30 CST
By: Charlie Schlenker

The Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington is giving its archive of photographic negatives to the McLean County Museum of History. Greg Koos is the museum director.

"It's an amazing collection."

Pantagraph Regional Editor Gary Sawyer says this is a win-win for the community.

"There's the recording of not only significant historical events like perhaps fires or natural disasters but also insight into the day to day lives of people in certain eras."

Koos says the roughly 230,000 photos show McLean County from the 1930s through the late 1980s.

"This collection really shows how a community faced the challenges of the 20th century in terms of economic deprivation because the collection was developed in the Great Depression, of World War Two, the development of technologies and the impact of technology on our daily life."

Koos says the museum will store the collection in a climate controlled room in special storage units.

"They are in the newspaper business. We are in the preservation business."

He says the ultimate goal is to digitize all the images and make them publicly accessible, though it may take a generation to process the half century of negatives. They are filed by date and will have to be compared to records of the paper. Koos says only museum and Pantagraph staff will have access to the collection until it can be catalogued. He says negotiations over the transfer and preservation of the archive have gone on for several years and the transfer will likely happen before the end of the year.


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