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Preservation Week and Preserving your Personal Collections

5 Apr

Many people don’t realize that they have their own collections at home, and they think even less about preserving them for the very long term. If you thought about it, you would probably list your photographs as a collection. But have you ever thought about old calendars you may have written on, trinkets or keepsakes such as movie tickets you kept from your first date with your wife, brochures or pamphlets, diaries from childhood or adulthood, video tapes or DVDs, clothing and textiles, comic books, and letters you’ve written or received? Correctly caring for these items can extend their life far beyond what one might expect. In the same thread, incorrect treatment of these materials can lead to serious deterioration and the eventual destruction of the object. Not everyone is interested in family history, but there are many who have a real passion for it and our failure to preserve these memories and records today can inhibit their research and knowledge about the family in the future.

The last week in April is Preservation Week and libraries and archives around the country will be celebrating by offering a variety of activities from simple handouts to speakers and presentations. Here at the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson we’re going to have a small Preservation Week display up for the entire month of April that will include facts and statistics, a few examples of preservation issues, and some bookmarks you can take home with you. You can contact your local archives and museums to see what kind of programming or resources they’re offering.

Take a look at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Preserving Your Memories page to see what advice they offer on caring for your own collections.

Your kids may already be interested in museums and archives through watching the PBS program History Detectives, (which has launched many an archivist, museum curator, conservator, etc. into their career as of late) but if you and the kids want to get into real preservation of family records there are a lot of good resources out there.  Check out the ALA’s Preservation for Children page which gives ideas for adults on teaching their children good preservation habits. Work on family record preservation together through At Your Library’s Family Projects or let your kids read up and practice on their own through At Your Library’s Preservation Projects for Kids.

If your first language isn’t English and you want good guides in your native tongue, check out the ALA’s list of preservation Resources in Other Languages and start working on your personal collections.

If you’re in the Phoenix area and interested in learning about the care of your own collections you can check out this workshop hosted by our friends at the Arizona State Archives.

There are events going on everywhere, from online to local archives, museums and special collections. Give them a call and ask about any special programming or information about Preservation Week.

Learn more about preserving your home collections through this website!