The Museum & Archives of Rockingham County recently worked with the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center to photograph and display online several historic artifacts from their collection. The Museum, located in the historic county courthouse in Wentworth, N.C., documents all aspects of county history through its extensive collections of artifacts, documents, and more.
Photographing museum artifacts can be challenging. The 19th-century wedding dresses from the museum were especially difficult to prepare for digitization. The Digital Production Center in Wilson Library has a dressmaker’s mannequin used for photographing historic clothing, but the dresses from the museum were so small — especially in the waist — that they wouldn’t fit. We ended up simply using a hanger to hold them up and used a little tissue paper to give them a fuller appearance. With expert help from one of the Digital Production Center photographers, we were able to capture images that show all of the fine details of the dresses and put them online so that users can zoom all the way in to the high resolution images. Here are some examples:
Other items photographed from the collection include milk bottles
from local dairies, an old adding machine
from a local store, Christmas cards
from a local schoolteacher, and a fragile, somewhat scary-looking doll
from the 1920s.