Photography of Collections Guidelines

Guidelines for Photography of Collections and Duplication of Historic Documents

This policy documents appropriate procedures for providing photographs of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument museum collections, and for duplicating original historic photographs and documents. The policy is intended to prevent damage or loss through mishandling or exposure to detrimental environmental conditions.

Duplicate Photographs of Museum Collections

There are many possible uses for photographs of the items in museum collections, the most common being exhibits, publication, and research. It is the policy of the National Park Service to encourage the use of NPS collections in these legitimate ventures and to make photographs of

museum collections available within reasonable limitations. Photography involves exposing often fragile museum objects to potential damage or loss from handling and exposure to heat and light. The NPS minimizes this potential damage by photographing items as few times as possible. To accomplish this, the Park will develop a reference collection of object photographs that will be available for public use. A minimal fee may be required for copies of the photographs.

In order to provide this service, and to build the necessary reference collection, the following procedures will be followed:

  • Requests for photographs of items in the museum collections will be submitted to the Park curator, who will establish any necessary priority for the work. Requests should be made on copies of the attached form.
  • Requested items that do not have copy negatives will be photographed based on these priorities. A cost recovery charge for photography and processing may be required.
  • Photography will be done at the Park, under Park control, to preclude the possibility of artifact damage or loss. The resulting photographic negatives and their copyrights belong to the National Park Service. Once an object has been photographed, the negative will be maintained at the Park to fill future requests for photographs of that object. A minimal cost recovery charge through the Park Association maybe required for prints.

Duplication of Historic Photographs and Documents

All historic photographic processes and document types are subject to rapid deterioration from exposure to visible light and are very susceptible to damage from handling. Handling is often disastrous to these materials and causes damage such as tears, cracks, abrasions, fingerprints and stains. Handling also subjects historic photographs and documents to frequent fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

To prevent further deterioration, copies will be made of all historic photographs and documents, with the copy replacing the originals as the primary item for research and use. The original material will remain in storage, for the most part, as primary source material.

Increased requests for access to and copies of historic photographs and documents will require the following procedures to establish priorities for the duplication work:

  • Requests for duplicate historic photographs and documents are submitted to the Park collections manager who will establish any necessary priority for copy work.
  • Requested items that do not presently have copy negatives will be duplicated based on these priorities. The originals must be accessioned and cataloged into the Park collection. A cost recovery charge for duplication may be requested.
  • Duplication will be done at the Park, or under Park control, to preclude possibilities of loss or damage of the originals.
  • Once the photographs have been duplicated, copy prints and modern negatives of the originals will be maintained and used for intellectual access and for further duplication. Microfiche copies of historic documents will also be maintained and will be available for use. A cost recovery charge may be required for copy prints.

The Park will provide the sufficient quality duplication necessary to fulfill all the normal requirements for suitable reproduction. Outside individuals or organizations that request use of the images will be required to use only those copies provided by the Park; and they will be obligated to acknowledge NPS credit if the photographs are published or exhibited to the public. By law, users must also credit the photographer, if known.


Request for Photographs of Items from the Museum Collection
at John Day Fossil Beds

Catalog # Object Name B&W/Color Size Finish

The undersigned agrees to provide the following credit statement for all publication use: "(object name and catalog #) in the collection of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Photograph courtesy of the National Park Service."

Print _____________________________________________
Signature _________________________________________
Date _____________________________________________

Last updated: October 16, 2017

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