The photographic collection of the State Hermitage includes about 500000000 works.
There are unique early works of local and foreign artists. The historic collections which originate from the collections of the Winter Palace and the Imperial Hermitage occupy a special place among these rarities. Archival materials that reflect the multifaceted life of the museum for many decades up to the present are of particular interest; there are photographs documenting the restoration of artifacts and work during archaeological expeditions.
There has always been scientific interest in photography, but only recently have the museum employees started to think about saving not only images on photographic materials, but also the actual media carrying important historical and cultural information.
In 2010, a joint project of the State Hermitage and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was launched in order to establish a base of scientific and technical research, storage and restoration of photographic materials of the museum. One of the important project stages was the organisation of the Laboratory for Scientific Restoration of Photos (LSRP) and, as part of the project, the employees could receive training and internships in world centres for training and research in the field of conservation and restoration of works of photography.
V.A. Fyodorov, Head of the Department of History of Russian Culture, Ye.G. Shishkova, Head of the Laboratory for Scientific Restoration of Oriental Painting, and T.A. Baranova, Head of the Department of Scientific Restoration and Conservation, participated in the creation of our Laboratory.
LSRP opening day at the State Hermitage Museum was 1 September 2011. Initially, its staff consisted of three experts: art restorers N.S. Laytar and T.A. Sayatina and researcher M.O. Kozlova, PhD in Chemistry. In 2013, the Laboratory staff expanded.
The team welcomed three art restorers: O.N. Eberts, A.V. Kosolapov, and D.V. Brovkina.
The Laboratory for Scientific Restoration of Photos is located in a new building of the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre; it is equipped with modern restoration and research equipment. The Laboratory staff work closely with the academic staff and custodians of photographic collections of the State Hermitage Museum.