NOVEMBER 19, 2014, WASHINGTON (NNS) – Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) recently completed the second phase of renovations to its extensive photo archives NHHC Officials announced Nov. 13.
This part of the renovation included extensive storage improvement and shelving replacement for the archives’ special and donated collections, and is part of a multi-phased effort to re-house the NHHC Photo Archives’ entire collection. The first phase, completed late in 2013, included similar improvements to the archives section containing the Naval Subject Collection.
Overall, NHHC’s photo archives collection consists of approximately one million individual images in approximately 5,500 cubic feet. The collection covers topics spanning more than two centuries of naval history, with a particular emphasis on 20th century photography. Its holdings include virtually every photographic format, from early daguerreotypes, to glass lantern slides, to large format panoramic prints.
“This reflects one more step of getting our naval history holdings positioned for the long haul,” said Jim Kuhn, acting director of NHHC.
NHHC’s photo archives department spearheaded the effort to replace the eclectic hodgepodge of 1950s file cabinets with modern archival shelving and boxes, recommended by the National Archives and Records Administration standards. The new storage systems provide optimal long-term protection for these significant collections, highlights of which include: Admiral Nimitz’s personal photo scrapbooks from WWII, early aviation pioneer Eugene Ely’s collection of historic photographs related to the first shipboard aircraft takeoff and landing, and original glass plate slides from the Spanish-American War of 1898.
“For the staff of the photo archives, the completion of this phase of the renovation is a big step in a process that improves our ability to preserve our collection and to share it. We’re pretty excited about it and what’s yet to come,” said Lisa Crunk, NHHC’s lead photo archivist.
In a further effort to provide additional access to the general public, the photo archives is currently undertaking a major digitization and cataloging effort of approximately 120,000 of its most frequently used images. During this process, however, there will be periods of limited access to portions of its collections, as the digitization and cataloging effort is off site. All other collections will remain open to the public for both in-person research and via phone or email.
To make an appointment to visit the photo archives or to make a reference request, please contact the office at 202-433-2765 or email@example.com.
The Navy remains committed to the end-state goal of creating archival standard physical storage conditions with all collections cataloged in a single digital archival content management system that allows for a search down to the folder/reel/disk level.
Although still years away from completion, the plan provides an executable process to reach the goal and maintain public access to the archives. The process of establishing physical storage conditions at or near archival storage standards is moving forward steadily. Achieving a fully cataloged collection in a single digital archival content management system with search tools to improve access and global collection management is a stretch goal, but becomes more attainable as systems implementation and staffing levels improve. With the exception of the photo archive, NHHC’s archive collections are already being digitally cataloged to the folder/reel/media storage device level using the enterprise content management solution TRIM – or Total Records and Information Management.
The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions through our nation’s history, and supports the Fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.
For more information, please see www.history.navy.mil.