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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:08 PM
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National Archives bans photos by tourists
National Archives bans photos by tourists

So you want to take a photo of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence or U.S. Constitution the next time you visit the National Archives? Nope, sorry, head to the gift store.

Tourists will be banned from taking photographs or video in the Archives main exhibition hall starting on Feb. 24. Thousands of power flashes from cameras have the potential to further damage some of the nation's most important original documents, and photographers have disrupted the flow of visitors for years, the National Archives and Records Administration said in Monday's Federal Register.

Roughly 1 million people visit the main exhibition hall annually and at least 50,000 flashbulbs go off in there despite signs that ban flash photography, the agency said.

"The extra light and ultraviolet radiation from these flashes hastens damage to the documents," the Archives wrote in the Register.

Visitors can still bring cameras, cell phones and video cameras with them when they visit, but security guards and staff will remind visitors about the "no photography" rule. Any visitor who ignores the rule after a warning will be asked to leave the building. News media and professional photographers with permission from the Archives will still be permitted to take pictures or video.
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:16 PM
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1. Now, if the true intent of the Constitution can only be preserved's already shredded... :(
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:22 PM
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2. Major museums like the Louvre have prohibited for years...
for the same reasons.... I don't think this is unusual.
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:35 PM
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3. Yep, no conspiracy here.
Light damages paintings and documents, which is why art and cultural museums put so much thought and planning into everything from the intensity to the spectrum of their internal lighting. Flash photography circumvents that planning. One person photographing the Mona Lisa every day isn't going to hurt it, but 500 flashes a day, every day, for years on end can cumulatively do a great deal of damage. 500 photos a day (just one person every two minutes or so) adds up to more than 3.5 million flashes after only 20 years. That can damage and fade just about any type of colored print.

This is mostly a new problem brought about by the advent of digital photography. 50 years ago, average people didn't use flashes for their vacation photography. 20 years ago, people used film, and few people were going to waste the money/photo to take a shot of a document that would be unreadable in the final photo anyway. With the rise in digital photos over the last decade, and especially the ultra-compact high resolution cameras that have come out in recent years, suddenly EVERYONE is a photographer with a flash camera. That's a problem not only for the preservation of the documents, but to keep the line moving along.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:38 PM
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4. Entirely appropriate, IMHO. nt
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MiniMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I can understand banning flash photography
But pics taken without flash should be allowed.
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msedano Donating Member (682 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:45 PM
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5. no flash is the practice / rule
Many museums permit fotos without flash. i mistrust the motives of institutions that forbid personal image capture. Madrid's Reina Sofia museum, including Picasso's Guernica, is off limits to photographers. Mexico City's Castillo de Chapultepec ditto. In contrast, El Prado in Madrid is lens-friendly, one can approach within a few inches of Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" for example. The Rivera frescoes in Mexico City's Secretaria de la Educacin are open to photos. The Norton Simon in Pasadena, best art museum pound-for-pound in the world, allows non-flash cameras. The Getty Villa in Malibu, ditto

Sad the National Archives forbid people access to their own documents. People are stupid, arrogant, or merely illiterate hence the ban.

fyi, two fotos from Education building in Mexico. Top, a mural with damage, 1995. Bottom, 2005, the restored mural. Not only can I tell folks what I've seen, I can share the experience with a foto.

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