This past Friday, our Collections Assistant Crystal and our summer Intern Jordan started the long process of deep-cleaning the 3000 + glass plate negatives associated with the R.S. Williams Negative Collection. We started with a trial of ten negatives, making sure to test a wide variety in case smudging occured or the emulsion started to flake.
The negatives were put into three different baths, being soaked for 10-15 seconds in each. Gloves were worn to prevent finger prints and other natural oils from getting on the negatives.
The drying process was the most time consuming, taking over 8 hours. Due to the long drying time, we will only be able to fully clean and package approximately 20 negatives per day due to lack of space in our drying racks.
Some of the negatives had what looks like red marker on the top, identifying who was in the picture. The writing was monitored carefully as the negatives were soaked as to prevent fading and loss of information.
The description of each negative was taken, including a photograph before being treated with the wet cleaning process. These descriptions will help to form a preliminary index for the collection.