Notman Photographic Archives Honoured by Canadian Commission for UNESCO

by Photo Life
A. H. Buxton, Wm Notman & Son, Montréal, 1887. Reversed glass plate negative. © McCord Museum

A. H. Buxton, Wm Notman & Son, Montréal, 1887. Reversed glass plate negative. © McCord Museum

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO has announced that the McCord Stewart Museum‘s Notman Photographic Archives have been added to the Canada Memory of the World Register. So far, only 16 Canadian collections have been selected for this honour. UNESCO created the the Memory of the World program in 1992 as a way to preserve and facilitate access to documentary heritage.

Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO Sébastien Goupil said, “The Notman Photographic Archives at the McCord Stewart Museum were selected for their outstanding content and accessibility. The archives cover a wide range of topics related to the development of our country. They’re a treasure for anyone interested in the evolution of society in Canada, Quebec and Montreal and the history of photography in the 19th and early 20th centuries.”

President and CEO of the McCord Stewart Museum Suzanne Sauvage stated, “I’m delighted by this recognition of the Museum’s Notman Collection by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. The Museum acquired the first pieces of the collection in 1956 and has since worked meticulously to conserve and enhance the creations of this visionary photographer. The inclusion of the photographic archives in the Canadian Memory of the World Register strengthens our efforts to sustain the memory and influence of Notman’s work and the documentation of the history of Montreal and Canadian society.”

William Notman’s archives include approximately 400,000 photographs from his studio, which he opened in 1856. The collection includes historic glass-plate negatives, portraits, landscapes and stereoscopic shots from the second half of the 19th century. The collection’s database includes more than 83,000 artifacts, which can be consulted at the Museum’s Archives and Documentation Centre, and the museum’s website features 67,000 of Notman’s works that you can peruse online. In addition, several hundred Notman works are featured in the exhibition Notman, A Visionary Photographer, organized and circulated by the McCord Museum, and they’ve created a book too.

Wm. Notman & Son, Mlle Westlake, 1886. © McCord Museum

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