Most museum visitors don’t realize that the institutions they are visiting exhibit only about 15% of their overall collection, the rest lies below your feet in storage. So it is no surprise that the National Geographic Society has followed this example with what has been described as a “secret” museum below the streets of NW Washington, DC.
“For many years,” Randy Kennedy writes, “there has been a kind of secret museum of photography under the streets of northwest Washington — an immense, windowless, climate-controlled archive with roots reaching back more than a century.”
Equally exciting is the news that the works will be sold.
“The pictures comprise the archive of the National Geographic Society, and it was this sentiment said Mr. Bonner, the society’s archivist, that motivated him and officials there to explore the idea of opening up the holdings to the fine-art market for the first time. National Geographic’s goal is to find private and institutional collectors for the vintage black-and-white prints and later color images.”
I wish for the NGS’s sake that someone would have thought of this in 2006-2007, but I always applaud new material on the market – there has got to be some exciting sleepers for the niche photojournalism market.
Thank you NYTimes Art & Design: Treasures From an Underground Trove and I’m curious if we’ll be able to preview some of the rare works during Fotoweek DC before they are shipped off to Chelsea? Perhaps it would be a good marketing tool and would increase the chances of keeping some of these treasures in DC-based collections?