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A Very Special Photo Museum

A very special museum is located on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Photo Antiquities is a one-of-a-kind museum that represents the history of photography.

What curator Scott Yoss and director Frank Watters have created is nothing short of remarkable: a mini-museum that can hold its own with the best of them. In fact, this might be the best of them, because there has been very little done to document the history of photography in a public way.

Representing the evolution of an art form, the museum exhibits represent every major photographic process from the 19th century. For the photography enthusiast, there are many examples of the early photographic processes such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and albumen print.

The Civil War provided photography in America with its greatest boom. A collection of Civil War photographs including battlefield scenes and portraits of soldiers and generals is featured. Portraits of Abraham Lincoln taken by various photographers hang prominently in the Civil War room.

One of the delights of the museum is a three-story enclosed natural light atrium. Lined with antique wooden cameras and displays of vintage equipment, the atrium provides a glimpse of a turn-of-the-century portrait studio.

Collecting of photography as an educational activity has mostly been overlooked, which is why Photo Antiquities is so important.

The museum is at 531 E. Ohio Street and is open Monday-Saturday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. For information, call 412-231-7881.

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