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About this project

This online database is the product of a project to digitise St Albans Museums' image library, which has been going on since 2005. This project has been made possible thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Broken glass plate negative from the Wheeler Excavations, 1930

Glass plate negative from the Wheeler Excavations, 1930. Note damage to the emulsion and broken negative.

The major aim of this project was to increase access to our collections. The museum holds thousands of historic images relating to St Albans, very few of which are on public display at any one time. Many of these images have never been exhibited and were previously only available to view by appointment.

In addition much of our image library is very vulnerable to deterioration, for example the Wheeler Excavation Photographs, which are glass plate negatives, and the Alf Gentle Collection of colour slides.

Comps Room, National Childrens Home, Harpenden, 1927.

Comps Room, National Childrens Home, Harpenden, 1927. Kindly loaned to the museum for reproduction by Harpenden Local History Society.

By digitising these images we can not only make them accessible to a far wider audience but also preserve them in case of the sometimes inevitable and irreversible deterioration of the originals.

Another part of this project has been to work in collaboration with local societies, community groups and individuals who have loaned us images for reproduction. The aim of this is to develop our relationships with the local community and to draw greater attention to the wealth of material held by such groups. In addition, loaning for reproduction allows the museum to keep a record of images which we do not hold in our collections without the owners having to donate their original and precious originals.