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Collections Help

If you can't find the information you're looking for on this page, try our articles and and fact sheets about photographycinematography and television, or speak to your local reference library.

  • I have something I'd like to offer the Museum for its Collection. How do I go about it?

    The Museum is always pleased to receive offers of material from individuals and organisations alike. You may make your offer by email or letter, F.A.O. Object Donations c/o Collection Administrator (contact details at the top of the page). It should contain as much detail as possible about the material on offer, including dates, manufacturer, photographer etc, and the source of the offer. A photograph of the object(s) would be helpful but please do not send the object to the Museum or bring the object with you and expect to leave it with us. For further details see our Donate an Object page.


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  • What is the smallest camera in the Collection?

    The camera made for Queen Mary's doll's house in 1924. The doll's house was furnished with products by the leading manufacturers in miniature. Kodak made a 1/8th scale working model of a No.2C Brownie camera, small enough to fit inside a matchbox. However it was not displayed in the doll's house as the camera was considered too humble for such a grand mansion. The fully furnished house is on display at Windsor Castle. The camera is on display in the Kodak Gallery here at the Museum.


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  • Can I borrow a camera/television receiver/cine camera from the Museum to use as a prop in our play?

    Generally speaking, no. The Museum very occasionally loans objects to film and television companies under strict conditions if they cannot be obtained from property hire companies, such as the following:

    • A&M Prop Hire, The Royals, Victoria Rd, London, NW10 6ND (tel: 0181 233 1500)
    • David French Photographic Hire, Unit 1, Acton Central Industrial Estate, 2A Rosemont Road, London W3 9LR (tel: 0181 993 7655)
    • Visual Hire Ltd, Leeds (tel: 0113 245 9897)
    • Top Dressing, Huddersfield (tel: 01484 460 460)
    • Scenic Route Ltd, Brinksworth Rush, The Airfield, Elvingdon, York, YO4 5AU (tel: 01904 607 070)
    • Golden Age Television Re-creations - contact: Paul Marshall (tel: 0522 7033 348)
    • Dicky Howett (tel: 0245 441 811)
    • Andy Emmerson (tel: 0604 844 130)

    Suppliers are listed in Kays Video, Film and Television Database (tel: 0181 749 1214) and Kemps Film TV and Video Handbook. Download our Prop Hire Sources information sheet for more contacts.


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  • I have an old photograph/film/camera/projector. How much is it worth?

    Sorry, but we cannot give valuations. A number of organisations will value images and equipment, sometimes for a fee. Download our list of photographic and cinematographic equipment shops and dealers.


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  • I have an old photograph - how can I date it?

    Mainly by the process used to take the photograph - see the information sheets on processes, such as the Daguerreotype, Ambrotype and the Carte de Visite - and by the content of the photograph, for example, the clothes people are wearing. You will find a number of books listed in the photographic processes bibliography useful.
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  • I've found a film in an old camera - where can I get it processed?

    This depends on whether it's a still or movie camera and whether it's a colour or black and white film. See our obsolete film information sheet.


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  • Do you collect moving film footage?

    Generally speaking, no. See our Cinematography Collection page for a selection of our holdings. The collection of feature and documentary films, and television programmes in the United Kingdom is the responsibility of the and the Imperial War Museum Film Archive. There are a number of regional film archives which collect both professional and amateur film relating to their region. Please see the Film Archives information sheet for contact details.


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  • I've an old film I'd like copied onto video - where can I get this done?

    A number of firms offer this facility. Some deal with professional film formats (16mm and 35mm) and transfer onto broadcast video formats, while others handle amateur gauges (8mm, Super 8, 9.5mm) and produce copies on VHS. See our Specialist Film Laboratories information sheet. If you did not make the film yourself do you have the copyright owner's permission to copy it?


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  • I've found an old movie film and am worried it might be flammable. What should I do?

    First check if the film is on a nitrate base. If it's a 35mm film or one that may have been cut down from 35mm film, such as 17.5mm, and it was made before 1951, it may be nitrate stock. See our Nitrate information sheet. If it's a 16mm, 9.5mm, 8mm or Super 8 film it will be on safety stock and there is no need to worry. Note that some early stills films were also on a nitrate base.


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  • I'd like to get a video of an old movie but I don't know where to find it.

    The situation is constantly changing so published guides tend to go out of date quickly. A number of firms claim to stock of all the videos in distribution and have back catalogues:

    • Choices Direct, PO Box 190, Peterborough, PE2 6UW (tel: 0173 323 2800)
    • Blackstar, 11 Ravenhill Rd, Belfast, BT6 8DN (tel: 0800 052 9050)
    • The Film Vault, Unit 7, The Boundary, Wheatley Rd, Garsington, Oxford, OX44 9DY (tel: 0186 536 1500)

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  • Where will I find details of the films that an actor/director/writer/composer has worked on?

    Possibly the best start is the Internet Movie Database. Our bibliographic cinematography information sheets list a number of encyclopaedias and directories which contain filmographies.


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  • How can I get in touch with a star's fan club?

    Several fan clubs have sites on the web. You could find them by entering the star's name in a search engine.


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  • Are the pictures on this site in the public domain?

    No, the images on our pages are all subject to the copyright laws of the European Community and they are in copyright for 70 years after the death of their creator. If you would like to use or reproduce our images in any way, please contact the Science & Society Picture Library who will be able to advise you about their copyright and supply reproduction quality images.


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  • How can I obtain photographs of objects in the Collection?

    Requests for copies of photographs and objects in the Collections should be made to our picture library, the Science & Society Picture Library.


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  • Where can I find information on copyright?

    Copyright in the United Kingdom is governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988), and the EC Directive 93/98/EEC.

    The Library Association, 7 Ridgemount St, London, WC1E 7AE (tel: 0171 636 7543) will provide general information, as well as sample letters and documents suitable for copyright clearance.

    The Association for Information Management (ASLIB, Information House, 20-24 Old St, London, EC1V 9AP tel: 0171 253 4488) publish a guide to copyright Copyright Made Easier by Raymond A Wall.

    Other sources of information are: World Intellectual Property Organisation - an inter-governmental organization in Geneva; EBLIDA; the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management which offers links to national and international resources on intellectual property law; Designers & Artists Copyright Society Ltd, Parliament House, Northburgh St, London, EC1V OAH 9 (tel: 0171 336 8811).

    When searching on the internet, you should use the term 'intellectual property', as well as 'copyright'.


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  • I'd like to build to build a camera obscura or camera lucida How do I do so?

    See our camera obscura page for suppliers.


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  • I can't find the information I need. How can I get in touch?

    If you can't find the answer to your question you can email:
    research@nationalmediamuseum.org.uk

    Alternatively, write to Corporate Collections Information, National Media Museum, Bradford, BD1 1NQ.

    We will endeavour to respond to your enquiry within 20 working days.

    Before you get in touch, please bear in mind that we can only answer questions about objects from our collections, and we will not:

    • Answer enquiries of a general nature, pertaining to the history of photography, film or television.
    • Assist with crossword puzzles, competitions and quiz questions.
    • Give valuations.

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