The collection comprises groups of negatives made in 1878-2000 that refer to the historical-architectural, ethnographic history, as well as the new and modern history of Armenia.
In 1930, Department for the Study of Armenian Architecture was launched under the guidance of Toros Toramanian. His personal collection, also the one he brought to the Museum from the Commission for the Preservation of Monuments, comprised the basis of the fund of the Department. These glass plates were made in Ani (in 1878 and 1893-1917) and Van (in 1915-1916) during N. Marr’s scientific expedition, also during the last scientific expedition to Western Armenia organized by the Echmiadzin Scientific Institute in 1920. Besides an intrinsic cultural value, these glass plates representing the 4th-17th century historical-architectural monuments in Western and Eastern Armenia are sole historical, scientific and artistic evidences of unique monuments that are totally vanished today and completely or partially ruined due to time and situations. Their authors are photographers Hovhannes Kiurkchian, Aram and Artashes Vruyr, architect Toros Toramanian, art critic and historian Gareguin Hovsepian, archeologists Smbat Ter-Avetisian, Ashkharhbek Kalantar and Yervand Lalayan.
The ethnographic part of the collection includes glass plates made mainly by enthnographer Stepan Lisitsian during the scientific expeditions to Sissian, Goris (1931), Meghri, Kapan (1932), Djavakhk (1936), Gegharkunik, Ashtarak (1938).
The materials of the new and modern period are mainly film negatives of archival documents and public, political and cultural figures.