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Pasadena Museum of History Deep Freezing At-Risk, Irreplaceable Historic Images

Pasadena Museum of History Turns to the Deep Freeze to Save Irreplaceable Images; Launches Public Funding Campaign to Stop Deterioration

Published on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 | 1:58 pm

Today Pasadena Museum of History (PMH) turned to two sources for help in preserving its highly at-risk, irreplaceable historic photos: cryogenics and crowd-funding. With the launch of The Great History Freeze of 2015, PMH has high hopes that this month-long Kickstarter campaign will succeed in raising sufficient funds to purchase one or more industrial freezers towards a long-term goal of ten.

What’s happening to the negatives?

The over one-million photographic images in Pasadena Museum of History’s archives are among the Museum’s most valuable resources, attracting researchers worldwide and utilized on a regular basis by local journalists, scholars, and individuals. In spite of careful preservation efforts, however, many of them are deteriorating at a rate that will destroy them completely within 20 years.

Deterioration can be stopped!

Freezers = Stability: Freezing the negatives will put them in a chemically inert state, and limit off-gassing. It is more cost-effective than scanning every negative and digitally storing them, and has the added benefit of preserving the historic artifact. This is the method currently in use by major historical museums with photographic collections.

The Campaign

The Great History Freeze of 2015 campaign is seeking funding through Kickstarter for a minimum of one freezer. The minimum goal of $2,500 would cover the cost of purchasing one twenty cubic foot industrial freezer equipped with wireless data monitor, plus and associated storage and handling costs. Funds raised over and above this campaign goal will go toward the purchase of future freezers and supplies. Each freezer can store between 18,000 and 20,000 negatives.

For further details on The Great History Freeze of 2015, please visit the campaign page at

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