Photography/Digitization Center (9)

The photo lobby is home to three pieces of historic photographic hardware. On the left is a panoramic light box from 1915 which would allow photographers to adjust the exposure of the film by turning its light bulbs on and off. This light box was in use until the 1980s. In the middle is a photo enlarger from the 1940s, and on the right is a Cirkut panoramic camera from the early 1900s that creates panoramic pictures with the box rotating on a wind-up spring while the film is exposed through a narrow slit. 

The Photography/Digitization Center is a large scale digitization lab that houses state of the art equipment including book scanners, photograph scanners, large scale high quality printers and more. The lab is closed to the public for preservation reasons, but you can get a peek inside on our tour website.

The photography/Digitization center—also known as the “Digi Lab”—works on photographic and archival materials housed at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center. Our photographic archives consists of 4.5 million photographs, over 9,000 glass plate negatives from the late 1800s to early 1900s, and 600-plus panoramic photographs.  The collection includes works from the Litterst Studio, works from photographer Stan Schleuter, and the pictures Houston Post and Chronicle. The originals are preserved in closed stacks.

The “Digi Lab” also creates reproductions of images for magazines, museums, exhibits, and more. Many of the images can be found in the Photography Database on the Houston Metropolitan Research Center's website or the Houston Area Digital Archive.

If you are interested in purchasing a reproduction or donating images to the archives, please visit the Reference Desk in the Texas Room.