1 West Beverley Street
Staunton, VA 24401
1 West Beverley Street
Staunton, VA 24401
|Monday - Friday||9 AM - 5 PM|
|Saturday||9 AM - 2 PM|
General Admission: $5
Under 16: Free
David Schwartz, Curator
Catherine Fenneran, Assistant Curator
Antique Cameras their Users and their place in History
The Camera Heritage Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which houses and displays over 4500 cameras and accessories.
Located in Staunton in Central Virginia The Camera Heritage Museum houses a unique collection of antique cameras dating from the 19th century to modern times. They often have both a historical significance and a provenance that is interesting to all. There are not many open camera museums since collections are often private. We have opened this collection to the public so that everyone has an opportunity to view these historical treasures
You will find samples of many of the different kinds of cameras which the museum exhibits in the galleries listed above. We are in the process of adding the stories of these cameras and their photographers. If you do not find information that you are looking for we may be listing it any day now.
The Camera Heritage Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and displaying cameras to ensure the continuation of a section of history that is rapidly disappearing.
The Camera Heritage Museum was founded in 2011, and has since received donations from nearly 150 people who want to preserve the legacy of film.
The Camera Heritage Museum was created to display and preserve a collection of over 2,000 cameras as well as accessories and photos. The majority of cameras are antique cameras. The museum's mission is to share with the public a glimpse into the fascinating story of photography. In this small town in central Virginia you can see some of the most technologically advanced instruments of their times along with photos spanning over 150 years. These photographs are examples of the output of some of the cameras in the collection. You get a better feel of the era and the photographers when you see these photographs. There are stories behind many of these cameras which are worth your time even if you are not a camera buff. From stories about local photographers whose work is nationally known to the events that they captured for future generations, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.
The main camera collection, which is on display, consists of over 150 individual donations. Periodically, we pull cameras from the main collection to form a temporary display of like cameras, such as spy cameras or WWII cameras.
The David Schwartz Collection
David Schwartz began collecting over 40 years ago. His enthusiasm for photography was the driving force behind what is now a very significant collection spanning the history of photography. His cameras came from many different sources, but they were all gathered with an understanding of how important they were to the history of photography. Unfortunately he could not preserve and display his collection forever. The collection needed a way to carry on through time and stay open to the public. Now the Camera Heritage Museum is taking over the responsibility of showing his collection with a plan to expand the collection and improve its display.
The A. Lewis Bernard Vintage Camera Collection
Through the generous cooperation of the staff of the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette: Mark Tullos, Director: Lee Gray, Curator and Jaymie Lafleur, Registrar: the Camera Heritage Museum was able to acquire the A. Lewis Bernard Vintage Camera Collection of over 900 cameras, accessories and images on January 10, 2012. We are extremely pleased with this collection and hope to have it included in our displays soon. We also would like to thank Wilson Trucking of Fishersville, Va for volunteering their services in making the transfer to Va possible.
The Jim McLeod Brownie Collection
Jim McLeod started his photography hobby as the high school photographer in Grandview, Missouri where he took pictures for the local newspaper and school yearbooks. He started collecting Kodak Brownie Cameras in 1995 while on an antique trip with his wife as something to do. He found a book that said there had been some 60 different Kodak Brownie’s built and decided he could collect all of those. During his collecting, he was able to identify approximately 700 different models and collected at least one of every type, which amounted to over 400 different cameras manufactured in 7 different countries, including several rare ones built in Germany during WWII before the US got involved. His collection even grew larger than Kodak’s collection. While collecting Brownies, he also acquired over 1000 pieces of Kodak Memorabilia, which were added to the collection given to the Museum. He became a member of an international Brownie Club and wrote articles for their magazine, and his collection is probably considered in the top 10 Kodak Brownie Collections in the world.
Give Us Cameras
You may have the camera we are looking for.
- There are around 40,000 different cameras list in McKeown's catalog so our collection has a long way to go.
- Your collection may be a major boost to the museum.
- We are still small. We do not have the resources to try to match the many years that have been dedicated to so many existing collections.
- Don't let your cameras be lost.
- We are structured to preserve cameras much longer than a single lifetime so our cameras will be preserved in perpetuity.
- We have listed our policy and gift agreements below so that you will understand what we can and will do.
We offer guided group tours of the collection. The only cost for the tours is the $5 general admission fee and any extra, voluntary donation made by those taking the tour.
We also have a volunteer docent program.
The only facilities we currently posses are the main gallery floor and a storage area which is not open to the public. We are seeking too expand our facilities to include a working darkroom and lecture space.
The Camera heritage Museum showcases many photographers who have lived in the area. The first photographer in the area practiced his art in 1847, just 9 years after the beginning of photography in Paris. The son of one of our local photographers became the White House photographer for presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson; see Barnett Clinedinst. We also showcase Washington Star, LA Times, U.S. Senate, Official White House and President Ronald Reagan's personal photographer, Bernie Boston.
Access: Staff Only
Appointment required: Yes
The Camera Heritage Museum is handicap accessible, but does not have public restrooms.
The City of Staunton has on-street, 2 hour parking, but spots can sometimes be hard to find. There is a metered parking lot two blocks from the museum and a free parking lot about half a mile up North Augusta Street.
We offer guided tours of the collection. The only cost for the tours is the $5 general admission fee and any extra, voluntary donation made by those taking the tour.
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