NRHA: Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority
For years dusty boxes of photo negatives, slides and prints dating from 1868 to present have resided in storage vaults at Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA).
In 2009, it was decided to bring these treasures back to life in an accessible and searchable online format. That year, NRHA’s Communications and Marketing Department, assisted by a freelance architectural photographer, began the process of restoring and salvaging these images through photo digitization.
Since then, an estimated 23,000 images have been scanned to create the digital photo archive, showcasing 143 years of Norfolk’s history. It is interesting to compare that a similar project undertaken by the Richmond Times Dispatch and Valentine Richmond History Center took a museum technician 20 hours a week for five years to complete 12,000 photos (Richmond Times Dispatch 2/20/11).
The digital photo archive will serve as a centralized resource for thousands of photographs that capture the evolution of Norfolk. A special feature that will be added to several photos is augmented reality, in which a past-era photo is inserted in the center of a present-day photo of the same area, making the transformation of time all the more apparent and breathtaking to the viewer. The archive will feature 77 galleries and a rich full-size, full-screen version of each image.