The Durham Museum

Photography is a relatively new invention when compared to other forms of communication (oral traditions and writing). It has changed drastically throughout its history; from the earliest daguerreotypes through tintypes, glass plate negatives, acetate film, nitrate film, color prints, and today’s digital images. 

The Durham Museum’s Photo Archive contains over 700,000 images spanning from the 1860s to the 1990s. They document the fascinating history of Omaha from its early days as a young frontier town to a unique and sophisticated city. A long forgotten storefront, Presidents on parade, row upon row of cattle in the stockyards, streetcars, and a family picnic; each image preserves one moment in time, but also tells a hundred different stories! These negatives and prints, some over 100 years old, are slowly deteriorating – their stories in danger of being lost forever. 

The Durham Museum is dedicated to the long-term storage, preservation and documentation of these photographs. Since July 2010, efforts have been underway to digitize the entire Photo Archive.

Photos left to right: "Elementary Class", Omaha Sun, 1971, Sun-35mm-185-005; "Money and Dummy Check", 1971, Omaha Sun, Sun-35mm-81-002; "University of Nebraska at Lincoln Football", 1941, John Savage, JS35G(4)-20; "Northwestern Bell Telephone Company", 1967, John Savage, JS11Q(3)-043