The Photography Collection is one of the finest and most extensive anywhere in the world. It is best regarded as a collection of collections, encompassing not only that of the Science Museum, but other world-class collections such as The Royal Photographic Society Collection, the Kodak Museum,  the Daily Herald Archive and the processes collection. We cover the aesthetic and technical developments of photography, from the earliest experiments to contemporary digital imaging. One of the major strengths of the Collection is its diversity. All major genres, applications and photographic movements are represented.

There is a fairly reasonable number of photographs in the National Media Museum collection taken in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Examples of work include:

  • 19thcentury: an Underwood & Underwood stereocard of coconut palms in Puerto Rico; an 1850s daguerreotype of a harbour, probably in Santiago; and a couple of albums, one documenting a South American trip and the other the construction of the Panama Canal.

  •  20thcentury:  material in the photograph archive of the Daily Herald newspaper (in circulation from 1910 to the late 1960s).


There is no one way into the collection, but instead a number of catalogues, hand-lists, card indices etc. This is because the museum has acquired a number of large collections, each with their own method of cataloguing, over a relatively short space of time.

Also, a proportion of the photograph collection is only catalogued by photographer and title, and not by location or subject matter.

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