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Gallery rescuing photo collection

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Media Release 30 October 2006

Auckland Art Gallery is rescuing its 1960s and 70s colour photos from fading into obscurity with a new purpose-built cool store.

Colour photos begin to degrade within 30 years in normal conditions.

But recent research has found their life-span can be extended to over 300 years if kept in a cool, dark environment at 40% humidity.

The gallery’s new Marylyn Mayo intern Katherine Bol will spend the next 10 weeks helping the registration team to document and move over 2,800 photos into the 3m x 5m cool store.

The move comes just in the nick of time, with only a handful of polaroids beyond saving.

It ensures this valuable historical record - including photos by Brian Brake, Robin Morrison, John Kinder and the Burton Brothers - is preserved for future generations.

Bol, 26, has an MA in museums and cultural heritage from Auckland University. She works one day a week at Archives New Zealand and is a volunteer at Howick Historical Village.

She recently took part in a Te Papa project rehousing Egyptian artefacts.

The annual internships were established last year thanks to the generosity of Queensland academic Dr John Mayo in memory of his late wife Marylyn, a New Zealander with a lifelong interest in the arts, education, law and health.

Gallery director Chris Saines says there was a clear need for this type of assistance.

“The gallery had already hosted a number of informal internships over the years for students seeking practical experience. Dr Mayo’s generosity and foresight will make a huge difference to future professionalism in the sector,” he says.

The inaugural Marylyn Mayo intern Greg Anderson spent four months working alongside gallery staff on the Art & the 60s from Tate Britain exhibition. A third intern, Renee Tanner, begins a 12-week outreach education programme in January.


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