Dec 10, 2021

Contemporary Photography Donated by the Annenberg Foundation

The following announcement was written by Aliza Leventhal, Head, Technical Services, Prints & Photographs Division, at the Library of Congress:

When the Annenberg Space for Photography closed in June 2020, they offered the Library of Congress more than 900 high quality prints from ten of their exhibitions. We responded enthusiastically to this rare opportunity to add work by 329 contemporary photographers to the collections. In a year when we organized and described 350,000 items using the standard archival description and housing techniques that work well for large collections, we also rose to the challenge of providing intensive, special attention for what is now the Annenberg Space for Photography Collection of Exhibition Prints.

To provide the public with a way to experience the timely subject matter and modern photographic techniques in the Annenberg Collection, the Prints & Photographs Division (P&P) digitized each photo, created item-level descriptions, and worked closely with the Conservation Division to make custom housing for the sensitive surfaces of the prints. Here’s the story of a lively and successful year—from a gift agreement to online access.


The 49 oversize wood crates filled with carefully wrapped prints traveled safely across country in several tractor trailer shipments. Stringent security and pandemic health requirements added unique complications that were overcome by careful coordination among the Annenberg Center; P&P; the Library’s acquisition, conservation, and off-site storage departments; and the art shipment company. The crates filled a lot of floor space and pallet racking in the warehouse receiving area, which meant that P&P had to move quickly to reduce the footprint. In only 10 months, each crate was brought to our work space on Capitol Hill. After we unpacked and inventoried the collection, most prints fit on the tops of map cases. But they couldn’t stay there.

The full article is much longer, describing the Housing, Digitization, and Developing a Description of this huge collection at:

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