The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the launch of the Louis H. Draper Archive Portal. The portal of this notable African American photographer and educator is the culmination of more than three years of work to catalog, digitize, preserve, and disseminate the extensive Draper archive, acquired by the museum in 2015.
The portal contains over 6,600 items, which represent more than 50,000 images total, dating from 1947 to 2005. The digital portal is arranged like the physical archive, but it has been broken down into 50 parts to assist users in browsing the sections of the archive of most interest to them. Manuscript materials include correspondence, clippings, notebooks, exhibition announcements, and publications; photographic materials include contact sheets, prints, slides, and negatives; and photographic equipment includes cameras, lenses, filters, and exposure meters.
The detailed cataloging work that went into the project allowed VMFA to make deep connections with photographs by Draper that were already in the museum's collection, and it inspired and informed the museum's upcoming exhibition and printed catalog Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop.
This project has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.