Digital Imaging

Digital Imaging

The Anthropology Division of the American Museum of Natural History, with major support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), has been a world leader in the design and implementation of preservation and access programs since the mid-1980s. Innovative preservation facilities have been built for the entire ethnology collection, and access has been made possible for people worldwide who can reference the collection and its associated documentation via the Internet. Digital images are a key component of this documentation. Since 1989, the Anthropology Division has captured over 240,000 images which document the ethnology collections from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas, and has made these images accessible via the Internet.

With significant support from the NEH, the collections were digitally imaged in the following order:

  • North American Ethnographic Collection (1989 - 1995)
  • Asian Ethnographic Collection (1996 - 1999)
  • African Ethnographic Collection (1999 - 2003)
  • Textile Collection, all proveniences (2003 - 2005)
    With a combination of support from the private sector and the NEH, the Anthropology Division has also digitally imaged the Andean archaeological textile collection.
  • Pacific Ethnographic Collection (2005 - 2007)
  • Mexican & Central American and South American Ethnographic Collections (2007 - 2009)
  • Philippines Ethnographic Collection (2009 - 2010)
  • Mexican & Central American Archaeological Collection (2011 - 2013)

The integrated image and text database greatly enhances collections accessibility for researchers and the public, and the Division of Anthropology adheres to established best practices for maintenance of this database.

Digital Imaging Specifications

Images are captured with a pixel dimension of 10380 x 7816 pixels at 300dpi. Images are archived in JPG2000 (ISO/IEC 15444-2) format.


  • Apple 27" 5K iMac, 3.6GHz 8-core Intel core i9, 32GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580X 8GB
  • Hasselblad H2 camera
  • Phase One IQ180 digital camera back
  • Bogen Manfrotto tripod
  • Profoto Acute 2 2400 Strobe lighting


  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Phase One Capture One Pro