Photographic Archive Checklist

Do you have, or expect to have, a photographic archive or collection in your possession? It might be that of a friend, mentor, or family member. Whose archive it is, and whatever the contents, you are, or will be, faced with the prospect of attempting to find a home for it where the photographer’s legacy will remain accessible to future artists, photographers, and historians.

The purpose of this Checklist is to help you evaluate the nature of the particular archive you’re dealing with, in order to better refine your search for the appropriate institution(s) to approach. As you begin looking at the Checklist, you may find it to be a bit overwhelming. This may especially be true if you are not a photographer and are unfamiliar with the photographic vocabulary. Please don’t be intimidated by it. It is not a test, and there are no right or wrong answers. This is why “don’t know” is almost always an option among the multiple choices. Don’t feel shy about checking the “don’t know” box. If you feel lost or just don’t have the time, you might want to consider hiring an archivist who specializes in photography. Refer to our Resources/Professional Consultants page on our website.

The reason for each of these questions is that any institution that you approach about housing an archive will likely be asking their own versions of the same questions. The Checklist is simply a tool to help you prepare for that conversation.

Click here to download the Checklist. It’s a Word document so you can enter as little or as much as you want, then save it and come back to it later.