Since its founding in 1913, Foto Marburg has regularly been acquiring external archives to maintain their inventories and make them permanently available to all interested parties. In the past ten years, an average of 27,800 historic negatives worthy of preservation have been acquired each year.
As a rule, four criteria are utilized to decide whether negatives and slides should be acquired:
- The cultural importance of the objects documented.
- The documentary value of the photographs. This value can result from the fact that the photographs are not accessible to the public, or that they depict works, conditions or contexts no longer in existence. It can, however, also be due to the significance of the photographs as valuable historical documents for research and scholarship.
- The photographic quality and significance to the history of photography.
- The price. Since the funds which Foto Marburg can afford to spend on acquisitions in a given year are limited, the most valuable archives take precedence. A major portion of inventory growth is, however, also enabled by acquiring archives which are offered free of charge to Bildarchiv Foto Marburg.
Since Foto Marburg has in recent years regularly been offered photographs which more than meet these criteria, acquisitions for safeguarding historically valuable material will accordingly continue to be a national necessity in the coming decades, as well.