Photographic Legacy Project in Cape Town Receives Prestigious Bank of America Art Conservation Project Grant

Zulu Women, Kwa-Zulu Natal, circa 1930. Glass plate negatives, 4 x 5 inches. Duggan-Cronin Collection, McGregor Museum, Kimberley, South Africa. © Duggan-Cronin Museum

In a significant acknowledgement of its efforts in preserving Africa’s rich photographic heritage, the Photographic Legacy Project (PLP) based in Cape Town has been announced as a recipient of the Bank of America Art Conservation Project 2024 grant. This grant will enable the PLP to collaborate with the McGregor Museum in Kimberley to conserve and digitize the invaluable photographs captured by Alfred Duggan-Cronin.

Alfred Duggan-Cronin’s archive, housed in the McGregor Museum, comprises 5,414 ethnographic images alongside 3,000 photographs awaiting categorization and digitization. These photographs, captured between 1919 and 1939, offer a poignant glimpse into the lives, cultures, and traditions of various indigenous peoples across southern Africa, including the San, Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele, among others.

Paul Weinberg, the curator of the PLP, emphasized the critical importance of preserving Africa’s photographic heritage, stating, “Without adequate and sustainable commitments to preserve Africa’s photographic heritage, significant collections could be lost forever.”

The collaboration between the PLP and the McGregor Museum underscores a shared dedication to safeguarding these historical treasures for future generations. By ensuring the accessibility of these archives for research and educational purposes, the PLP aims to celebrate Africa’s photographic legacy and promote a deeper understanding of the continent’s diverse cultural tapestry.

Brian Siegel, Global Arts, Culture & Heritage Executive at Bank of America, highlighted the significance of the Art Conservation Project in preserving cultural treasures worldwide, noting, “These programs and the individuals carrying them out are just part of a larger ecosystem working to preserve and protect cultural treasures for future generations.”

The Bank of America Art Conservation Project 2024 grant reflects the company’s commitment to supporting cultural history and promoting greater cultural understanding. Since its inception in 2010, the project has funded over 261 conservation projects in 40 countries, encompassing a wide array of artistic styles and cultural traditions.

Through initiatives like the Art Conservation Project, Bank of America continues to demonstrate its belief in the power of the arts to enrich societies, foster economic growth, and cultivate cultural appreciation.

For further information about the Photographic Legacy Project and the Bank of America Art Conservation Project, please visit their respective websites.

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