What's locked safely in this container, once lined an attic ceiling. Nearly 14,000 glass-plates reveal Rochester's history, dating back as far as 1902. Now, those same images tell a different story. They reveal the man behind the lens.
His name was Albert Stone and this was his collection of photographs. What started as a hobby became a passion. His eye for photography landed him a job at the Herald Newspaper, which is now known as the Democrat and Chronicle.
"The D&C wanted to throw all his negatives away. They couldn't move them and he made that remark they want me to throw away my negatives, they can't move them. And then he said they want me to throw away my life's work and I will not let them do that," said Lea Kemp, a Librarian/Archivist at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.
Stone's granddaughter Helen Stone Reinhard made sure his life's work wasn't wasted. She took those glass-plates and turned them into the museum.
"He took pictures of people and made them real people, they had character," said Kemp.
It took years for the museum to get the money it needed to collect, archive and digitize all of Stone's photos... photos that captured the first quarter of the 20th century.
"He had a sense of humor, so you'd find a bunch of things you just have to laugh at," said Kemp.
Not only did Stone leave behind a legacy of photographs, he left behind descendants who followed in his footsteps. You can now find his great, great grandson Glenn Galbraith behind the lens of a studio camera at FOX and Channel 8.
"We're really happy my grandmother went through so much work from a third story attic to the museum," said Galbraith.
He says Stone was a quiet, humble man who took pride in his work, but not in himself.
"I'm sure he would probably say okay it's great you can have my name Albert Stone at the bottom, but don't talk to me about it, this is me behind the scenes," said Galbraith.
He says there may be more glass-plates out there. There's a family rumor that there may be more in an attic of another Rochester home where Stone died.
You can find the entire Albert Stone collection at the downtown library or online here.