George Eastman House, home to photographs and negatives dating from the invention of photography, is selling photographs donated by friends of the museum in a charity auction to raise cash.

The museum is named after George Eastman who founded the Eastman Kodak Company in 1892.

The institution, which is based in Rochester, New York, is auctioning off 194 photographs, eight cameras and 18 books in a move fuelled by a need to raise funds during the economic downturn.

A spokesman for the auction said: ?The challenge of the recession has required the museum to employ new fiscal ventures such as this auction.?

Highlights of the sale – which runs until tomorrow – include a 1965 photograph of Audrey Hepburn by Douglas Kirkland and an archival pigment print of New York City by Joel Meyerowitz.

Photographs up for grabs include daguerreotypes and photogravures.

The auction raised nearly $500,000 in its first two hours at Sotheby?s, New York, on Monday.

George Eastman House wants to make clear that none of the items for sale are from the museum’s collection.