The photographic collections of the Musée des arts et métiers (pictures and equipment) cover the 19th century and occasionally the 20th.
To date, nearly 14 000 pictures and 700 objects have been recorded (chambers, cameras, objectives, shutters, accessories…) .
These items were collected mostly between 1880 and 1930, thanks to bequests or loans by eminent representatives of the contemporary world of photography, namely manufacturers Louis Duboscq, Léon Gaumont, Jules Richard, Jules Carpentier), scholars (Alexandre Edmond Becquerel), inventors (Hippolyte Bayard, Louis Ducos du Hauron, Auguste et Louis Lumière ou Alphonse Poitevin), photographers (Gabriel Cromer, Marie Pellechet) and popularizers (Louis Alphonse Davanne, Léon Vidal).
The Société française de Photographie had an essential role in the constitution of this collection. A cooperation developed naturally between the two institutions, in particular thanks to Aimé Laussédat, director of the Conservatoire national des Arts et métiers from 1881 to 1901. A series of conferences was organized.
This cooperation led to the creation of showrooms devoted to photography and cinematography in 1927.In the collections, some items are essential in the history of photography, like the objects from the Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre's bequest (daguerrotypes and laboratory equipment) or from donations by Louis Jules Duboscq, Etienne Jules Marey, Albert Londe, Charles Chevalier or Alphonse Giroux.

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