British photographic history

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Encounters: Photograph albums and their stories

A new photography exhibition, open from 22 October 2013 – 30 May 2014, at the Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive will show a different and intimate side of the Museum’s collection.

‘Encounters: Photograph albums and their stories’ presents unseen photographs and photo albums, dating back to the 1850s, which have been chosen from a collection of over 600 photograph albums at the Royal Engineers Museum. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England, the exhibition explores the narratives that are told through photograph albums, scrapbooks and their intriguing mixture of private photography and commercial prints and postcards.

Cate Canniffe, Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: ‘This is a really fascinating project set in a venue that is really quite different for this type of exhibition. We are very pleased to be able to support this project, providing audiences with an opportunity to enjoy the story that this collection has to tell. It is a wonderful addition to our collection of photography in the South East, bringing something a little different to our current offering.’

The photograph albums also offer the opportunity to discuss the varying colonial relations as seen through pictures. This aspect is central to the photography collection, which largely exists due to the expansion of the British Empire. Explorers, travellers and Royal Engineers were active all over the globe and used photography as a key documenting tool. Challenging climates did not hinder them but inspired many Royal Engineers to develop new photographic methods – one of the most well-known figures being Sir William de Wiveleslie Abney.

 Alongside the exhibition, the Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive will also launch its collections website. This will make over 2000 photographs accessible online as well as a substantial part of the Museum’s wider collection.


About the Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive (REMLA)

The Royal Engineers Museum is Kent’s largest military museum, and holds it’s only Designated Collection of historical and international importance. The many galleries tell the story of Britain’s military engineers from the Roman period to the modern Corps of Royal Engineers. The millions of items in its collection tell a sweeping epic of courage, creativity and innovation and the stories of individuals of great renown (General Gordon, Lord Kitchener, John Chard VC) and the average Sapper who has helped the British Army move, fight and survive for over 200 years.

Open: Tuesday – Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm; Saturday – Sunday & Bank Holidays: 11.30am to 5.00pm; CLOSED MONDAYS

Admission: Pay once: get in for 12 months!

Adult: £8.00    Family: £21.50    Concession: £5.50   Children under 5, Students and Serving Royal Engineers: Free

Website:, Twitter: @REMuseum, Facebook: The Royal Engineers Museum

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