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West Virginia State Archives Photo Copying Project FAQs

  • What is the photo copying project?

    The West Virginia State Archives collects copies of West Virginia photos to help preserve historical images and make them available for future generations.

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  • How does the photo copying process work?

    The State Archives staff simply takes a photo of your picture. The originals are usually returned to you within minutes. On busy days, this process may take a little longer.

 

  • What will I need to do?

    It is helpful to have as much information about the photos as possible. For example, please write down the photo's location, when it was taken, and individuals pictured. You will be asked to sign a consent form allowing the staff to make copies of your photos available at the State Archives.

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  • Is the original photo damaged at all?

    No, your photos are not damaged by this process. The staff may have to unframe photos but we will also re-frame them. If the staff feels unframing may harm the photo, the photo can still be copied in the frame but with less quality. Unframing and reframing will require additional time.

 

  • How can you obtain copies of your photos?

    You can order prints of your photo from the local sponsor of the photo copying project. At a later date, the State Archives will provide the local sponsor with contact prints (sheets which display reduced versions of the photos copied). You may then order 8x10 black & white prints of any of the photos on the contact prints for a fee.

 

  • What kinds of photos will the State Archives copy?

    The State Archives is interested in any photos which document West Virginia's past. This includes family photos if at least some of the members are identified as well as photos which relate to the following topics: industry, agriculture, religion, education, politics, social functions, athletics, transportation, local businesses, architecture, etc.

 

  • What kinds of photos will the State Archives NOT copy?

    We do not copy every photo that is brought in. If you are in doubt about the historical value of your photo, bring it in and let us make the decision. We usually do not copy recent color photos unless they document significant events such as the 1985 flood. However, it is important to copy many color photos from the 1960s which are fading badly.

 

  • Can the State Archives copy glass plate or cellulose negatives?

    No, we cannot copy them like photos. The State Archives can make prints from glass plate or cellulose negatives but the negatives must be taken to Charleston. The negatives will be returned at a later date.

For more information about photo copying projects, please contact Debra Basham.