ima archives


Behind the Scenes: Ledger Digitization

Last year the registrars at the Indianapolis Museum of Art were very eager to get access to two ledgers of loans in and out for exhibition that dated from 1910 to 1920. Unfortunately, the condition of the ledgers was cause for some concern, as the binding had been so strained that the spine had come completely off of one. Repeated use would almost definitely lead to the other spine falling off, and potentially to additional deterioration of the pages and binding. 

For this reason it was decided that preservation digitization would be essential, and allow registrars unlimited and close-up access to the ledgers at any and all times–through digital images of each page.

Once again, the Photography Department let us borrow one of their studio spaces, equipment, and set-up to completely photograph both 200+ page ledgers. Though the process was a bit tedious, requiring each page to be turned and set before photographing, the result has been increased access to and the continued preservation of these ledgers packed full of important loan information!


John Herron, an early benefactor of the Art Association of Indianapolis, kept meticulous financial records as evidenced by these ledgers in the John Herron Family Collection in the IMA Archives. It appears no expense went unnoticed, including the family’s food consumption–and check out those prices!

Explore more from the John Herron Family Collection.