The Cincinnati & Hamilton County public library has had in it’s historical archives, a set of 8 rare daguerreotypes that they wanted to preserve. They enlisted the Eastman Kodak company to document the current state of the glass negatives by photographing them at a super high resolution. The special camera took 144 images of a postage stamp sized area of each glass negative and then with software it stitched them all back together to form a very high resolution image to help document the current state of preservation. The library knew they had a great digital asset with these images and enlisted our team to creatively conceptualize some ways to showcase the daguerreotypes to the public. The glass negatives had been in archive for over fifty years and we were about the 7th person to view them in all of those years. Wow.
We came up with a concept for a pair of 55″ multi-touch LCD panels in an exhibit enclosure that would allow the public to view the images and zoom in on particular elements of the images. The super high resolution allowed us to zoom in with great detail. We also overlaid each image with a series of Points of Interest (POI) which the curators could enter via an internal web based CMS toolset we built. These back office tools allow the library staff to add text, images and even video to tell the story behind the images or the people in them.
Guests can use Multi-touch gestures to zoom and pan along the 8 images and learn about life in 1848. The large custom wooden enclosures were created by a local exhibit vendor and were specially designed by a local exhibit industrial designer to be sensitive to the harmful UV rays that could deteriorate the daguerreotypes. A special fold up door allows staff to put the glass negatives into darkness when not in use.