Hasselblad’s Multi-Shot digitally preserves art history for the future at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The mighty resolving power of Hasselblad’s Multi-Shot cameras makes them ideal for the museum sector, and they took centre stage at an international convention held at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The world is changing rapidly on every level and no sector is immune. Museums, for example, have seen the seemingly timeless task of recording their collections undergo fundamental upheaval since the widespread development of digital technology, and while the quality threshold has gone through the roof there is the ever-present danger that international standards could get lost along the way.

Cecile van der Harten, Head of the Image Department at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, puts it like this: “If a scientist wants to study a picture of an object from a museum’s collection, then they need to be sure that every institution’s photography department is doing things in exactly the same way. If this doesn’t happen then there can be no scientific conclusion.”

This was the thinking behind a two day workshop conference held at the Rijksmuseum, at which over 300 people involved in the museum branch worldwide met to discuss existing standardised photographic workflows. It was a golden opportunity to examine the challenge to international standards being posed by fast emerging new digital possibilities and to agree how these might be covered by international standards of practice.

As the supplier to the world’s museums of some of their most potent recording tools, in the form of both the 50 and 200 Multi-Shot models, it was appropriate that Hasselblad should be an official partner of the event, and the cameras were demonstrated to delegates over the two days. “The Rijksmuseum has a number of the Multi-Shot cameras,” says Dutch Hasselblad Area Sales Manager Hans Cornet, “and one H5D-50c Multi-Shot. The Multi-Shot is perfect for the needs of the institution and is covered by the Metamorfoze standard, which was developed in the Netherlands but is now the international standard for the preservation of paper heritage.”

“Hasselblad has been a valued partner for many years,” says Cecile, “We’ve got around 700,000 works on paper, photo prints and drawings to digitise, along with 300,000 other objects such as furniture and jewellery, and 8,000 paintings and pieces of sculpture, and our aim is to complete this task by 2018/20.”

“The Multi-Shot is playing a crucial role in this. The quality of the image that can be delivered by this camera is so high that we have had curators say to us that when they enlarge the image we produce they can see detail in an object that wouldn’t even be revealed had a microscope been used. This in turn saves the object itself from being handled unnecessarily and it’s allowed us to create a product that our curator colleagues are now queuing up to buy.”

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