May is the National Photography Month

National Photo MonthEvery May since 1987 the United States has celebrated National Photography Month. Throughout the country, this month is marked by photography contests, festivals, exhibits, and other activities. It also represents a time of reflection on the history of photography and how far it has grown. In 1827, Joseph Nicephore Niepce made the first photographic image with a camera obscura. His heliographs, or sun prints, allowed the light to draw his pictures. In 1829, Louis Daguerre partnered with Niepce to improve the process and develop a method known as the daguerreotype. This ‘fixed’ the images onto a sheet of silver-plated copper. In 1889, George Eastman invented film with a flexible, unbreakable base. The 1940s brought color and Polaroid photographs, which eventually gave way to digital and disposable cameras in the 1980s.

The Big Photo ShowOne of the biggest celebrations of the month takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 17-18. This Big Photo Show offers photo enthusiasts an opportunity to see, touch, try, and buy photo equipment from top manufacturers, learn picture taking tips from professionals, discover the newest ways to display images, and more. The event even includes a photography contest open to all photo enthusiasts.

Celebrating National Photography Month can take many forms. Whether you are entering contests, or simply cherishing everyday moments, don’t forget to appreciate the history of this wonderful art.

ApresfotoAprèsfoto, the premier supplier of archival presentation and storage products will be exhibiting at the Big Photo Show, May 17-18 at the LA Convention Center, booth #435. Stop by and see a variety of products from portfolios, archival boxes and photo bags to interleaving tissues and frame supplies.  Get a sneak peek at some new products and don’t forget to pick up a show special coupon!

For special discounted show tickets just use code 2014TBPS to get $15 off the ticket price courtesy of Aprèsfoto. Go to: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-big-photo-show-2014-tickets-9930374016

Pushing the Envelope at the NEMA Meeting

John Dunphy & Pat Foster, NEMA, 2012The New England Museum Association (NEMA) annual meeting was held in Burlington, VT. November 7, 8 & 9 and University Products was there to debut its new Archival Quality Materials catalog. In the booth was Pat Foster, Vice President of Marketing and John Dunphy, Vice President & General Manager. They displayed a variety of new products that have been added to the product line and illustrated in the 2013 catalog. Attendees got practical ideas and useful tips from top museum experts as they explored this year’s theme, “Pushing the Envelope: Innovation and the Future of Museums.” The conference was an opportunity for museum professionals to meet key colleagues, expand their professional network, and share their opinions in lively discussions with museums big and small. UPI booth at NEMA, 2012Also exhibiting were our New England neighbors which include the Northeast Document Conservation Center out of Andover, MA, Collector Services from Easthampton, MA and Small Corp from Greenfield, MA among others. It was nice to see representatives from our local museum, the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke in attendance as well as our friends from Smith College in Northampton.

NEMA Scholarship
John Dunphy & Rachel Lovett, NEMA, 2012Rachel Lovett, Curator at the Hanover (MA), Historical Society was the recipient of the University Products’ annual sponsorship of the New England Museum Association (NEMA) scholarship. The scholarship helps to offset the cost of attending the annual conference. In addition to her work at the Hanover Historical Society, Rachel attends the Harvard Museum studies program. Her attendance at the conference, this year held in Burlington, VT, allowed Rachel to seek out new ideas and current trends in the field. “I believe that attending NEMA will help enhance my museum skill set at work as well as in school,” Rachel said.

Latest Shows and New Products

Just returned from the American Association of Museums annual meeting where University Products exhibited at Museum Expo. I enjoyed meeting old and new friends and discussing some of the many new products we will be launching in the coming months.

University Products' John Dunphy with Mark Hall-Patton of the Pawn Stars fame.

Among the many fun moments was Mark Hall-Patton stopping at the booth. Mark works for the Clark County Museum System in Las Vegas, NV and is an expert in historical artifacts. However, he may be better known for his frequent appearances on one of the History Channel’s most popular shows: Pawn Stars.
Pawn Stars takes you inside the colorful world of the pawn business. At the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on the outskirts of Las Vegas, three generations of the Harrison family–grandfather Richard, son Rick and grandson Corey – jointly run the family business, and there’s clashing and camaraderie every step of the way. The three men use their sharp eyes and skills to assess the value of items from the commonplace to the truly historic, including a 16th-century samurai sword, a Super Bowl ring, a Picasso painting and a 17th-century stay of execution. It’s up to them to determine what’s real and what’s fake, as they reveal the often surprising answer to the questions on everyone’s mind, “What’s the story behind it? ” and “What’s it worth?”
Mark chatted with me about his participation in the show. He explained that neither he nor any of the experts are paid, but that the popularity of the show has greatly increased attendance at the Clark County Museum System, and the pawn shop had been very generous with the museums’ fund raising efforts. Mark is a customer of University Products and was kind enough to pose for a picture…

John with Carlos Mijares from Editorial Marco Polo, Mexico.
John with Carlos Mijares from Editorial Marco Polo, Mexico.

The American Institute for Conservation also held its annual meeting in May. University Products had a 20’ booth at the Albuquerque, NM convention center. I was joined in the booth by Carlos Mijares from Editorial Marco Polo, the major supplier of archival and conservation materials in Mexico and one of our favorite distributors of our products there. University Products also offers many of Editorial Marco Polo’s products here in the U.S. Among them are a variety of new suction tables which were on display at the booth, along with several new conservation weights.
In addition, we showed some of our new generation of products which include Fosshape and Wonderflex. These two new materials are used in mount making and creating light weight mannequin forms. You will be hearing more about these materials and many others as we move forward.
As I mentioned in our last blog, we will be participating in the Society of Southwest Archivists annual meeting being held in Phoenix, and the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries & Museums being held in Tulsa. We will also be a platinum sponsor of the SPNHC (Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections) annual meeting at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Regrettably, because of some health issues, I will not be able to attend these meetings as planned. We will, however, have products and catalogs on display and generous people in these organizations will set up and maintain our booth space. I hope to be back on my feet by early July in time to participate in the NAGARA (National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators) show in Santa Fe, and the Society of American Archivists meeting in San Diego in August.