Photo Archives

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Treasure Chest, 1934. MNA Photo Archives, C-20.2


In 1959, the Photography Department and position of Photographer were created by director Dr. E. B. Danson. Prior to that year, the photo archives were a part of the Publications Department. A photography studio and cataloging room was established in Fleischman Hall (now Schaeffer) in 1965. By the early 1980s the Photography Department became the Photo Archives, reflecting a shift in focus from active photography to preservation of and access to existing materials. In 2005, the Photo Archives ceased operation as a department, and staff photography became the responsibility of the Marketing Department. Care of photographic materials and use requests were placed under the responsibility of Library staff. The Photo Archives was placed under the care of the Archivist in 2008. In 2013, the Photo Archives was relocated to the Easton Collection Center (ECC) with extensive conservation work begun with funding assistants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Conservation care continues with the help of funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Southwest Foundation, and the Arizona Historical Records Advisory Board (AHRAB).

Material Formats

The Photo Archives contains silver gelatin prints, 35 mm slides (color and black and white), acetate negatives, and digital images. Subject covers the Colorado Plateau and the various research areas of the Museum of Northern Arizona. Broad topics include anthropology, archaeology, ethnology, paleontology, geology, Museum history, botany, and meterology.


The Photo Archives is divided into series and then into multiple subseries. The categories are listed below. Please review the individual series descriptions (the pdfs after each category) which contain tables showing the breakdown into further categories. The entire document showing the categorizations for the Photo Archives can be found here.  Below you will find separate pdfs showing the breakdown for each group within the Photo Archives; note that these pdfs are the ones that will contain item-level descriptions of photographs if available. Please use the identifiers listed in the individual series descriptions or the individual photograph identification numbers when making research requests.

A:  Archaeology and Physical Anthropology photographs containing miscellaneous archaeological specimens from unknown sites, maps, diagrams, reconstructions; photos relating to human biology. (PDF)

NA: Archaeological Survey photographs which are associated with known numbered archaeological sites and show views before and after excavation, artifacts, plans, reconstructions, etc. All archaeological photographs are restricted for use to practicing and professional archaeologists or anthropologists.  Archaeologists and anthropologists must have permission from the appropriate tribal entity prior to viewing photographs deemed culturally sensitive. (PDF)

B: Botany photographs relating to research conducted by the Museum. (PDF)

C: Crafts and Arts photographs showing art objects, painting, etc. except Native American arts which are placed under individual tribes in Ethnology. These photographs primarily document the Craftsmen Shows (now known as Heritage Festivals) at MNA. (PDF)

D: Dendrochronology photographs documenting the study of tree ring dating and its use in the dating of archaeological sites. (PDF)

E:  Ethnology photographs documenting Native Americans, Native American crafts, house, ceremonies, etc. and are classified by tribe name. (PDF)

EM:  Environmental Modification photographs documenting the environmental modification by man and/or economic development in the Southwest. (PDF)

Fr: Forestry photographs documenting forestry in the region. (PDF)

G: Geology (PDF)

Gg: Geography (PDF)

H: History photographs related to regional history. (PDF)

M: Meteorology (PDF)

N: Northern Arizona Society of Science and Art (NASSA) contains photographs of MNA buildings, permanent exhibits, staff, conferences, etc. (PDF)

P: Petroglyphs shows photographs of rock art taken around the Southwest in relation to MNA projects. (PDF)

Z: Zoology (PDF)

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