The Mattapoisett Museum is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit founded in 1958 as the Mattapoisett Historical Society. We serve the general public in Mattapoisett and surrounding communities. The museum acts as a repository of significant historical objects and documents, as well as a community center providing educational exhibits and programs, cultural programming, and learning resources for local schools.
We are housed in a 1821 Meeting House with an attached replica of a 200 year old carriage house. The ancient pews, graceful galleries, and post and beam construction in the carriage house carry one back to when life revolved around daily work, church, town meeting and the waterfront.
We are devoted to creating a living, interactive learning experience through events and exhibitions which instill excitement and imagination in our visitors. We strive to be a diverse and inclusive organization that welcomes and supports people from all backgrounds and ages.
Some of our most recent programs in collaboration with Southcoast Music Lessons' Jeff Angeley have been a monthly open mic night, old time fiddle session, and silent movies set to live music. We are currently piloting a multi-sensory program for individuals with dementia and their care takers, and the museum has provided programming to support LGBTQ+ individuals and their families in collaboration with SouthCoast LGBTQ+ Network.
1907 postcard showing the Mattapoisett Museum when it was still a church
Father and son performing at Open Mic Night
Photo: Ava Hall
The Mattapoisett Museum is a vibrant place of learning and community activities.
As we are working to meet our mission, we have discovered in our collection, nearly 200 photographic negatives measuring 4” x 5” from the 1940s and 1950s that are in a state of decomposition and will soon be lost.
These negatives are acetate based, an unstable film that produces acetic acid destroying the film. The degradation of this film involves warping, shrinking, and releasing a strong vinegar smell known as Vinegar Syndrome. This smell indicates film has started the process of decomposition. A few of these negatives have warped and they all are suffering from Vinegar Syndrome.
For us to preserve the images from negatives we need to digitize the negatives. To accomplish this, we need to purchase a scanner that has the capabilities to digitize large format photographic negatives. In addition, having a photographic negative scanner will allow us to scan other unique photographic formats in our collections such as our many glass plate negatives and glass lantern slides that are fragile and at risk for deterioration.
Having the ability to digitize the photographic negatives in our collections will allow you to see snapshots into Mattapoisett’s past and preserve those images.
Help us reach our goal of $2000 to purchase a scanner and digitize the negatives before December 1.
Abraham Skidmore leading a parade past E. A. Walsh's General Store, c.1940s
There are examples of one of the many images that needs to be saved
Why can’t you use a regular scanner?
Most scanners are designed to scan positive film also known as a photograph. Scanners that are designed to scan photographic negatives have a special type of sensor that can turn a negative image into a positive image.
Are there cheaper scanners you could purchase?
Companies like Kodak do make cheap negative scanners. However, these scanners do not produce high quality scans that are necessary for long term preservation.
How did you get the scans of the negatives you just showed us?
A board member has a negative scanner. Unfortunately, that scanner is a small format scanner which means it can only digitize 35mm negatives and slides. Our negatives are too large to capture the entire image. What you see is just a fraction of the entire image.
What is a glass plate negative?
A photographic negative that was captured on a glass plate during the mid to late 19th century. These types of negatives are very fragile and are susceptible to cracking and breaking.
Example of glass plate negative showing witch rock
What is a lantern slide?
A photograph printed on a glass slide that was viewable on an image projector with a light source. The photos were often hand colored. Lantern slides were popular in the latter half of the 19th century.
Example of a lantern slide showing the Mattapoisett River Herring Weir
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