Tag Archives: resources

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!


National History Day

11 Mar

On March 2nd I participated in my first National History Day. NHD is a nationwide program that encourages primary and secondary students to research topics in history according to a specific theme and present their projects in competition. Students pick a topic, research it, and create an exhibit, a documentary, a performance, or write an original paper. Although the Regional Competition was held at the University of Arizona in early March, the students’ work began last fall when they first came into the archives with a broad subject and archivists helped them determine their first research steps. Those projects that began in the archives in September culminated this month at the regional competition. Students came dressed in business clothes with projects in hand, and the eagerness and excitement amongst them was palpable. It was so gratifying to see kids so enthusiastic about a history competition! I heard original paper presentations, and the work and the creativity that went into the projects was impressive.

The theme this year was Turning Points in History, so students studied various events and argued that those events dramatically affected the course of history. Students who advanced in the regional competition will go on to compete at the state level in Phoenix in April. The final nationwide competition takes place in June in Washington, D.C.

An article featuring a past National History Day from the ephemera file on the Arizona Historical Society.

An article featuring a past National History Day from the ephemera file on the Arizona Historical Society.

NHD is a wonderful opportunity to expose young people to the archives. As easy as it can be to find information online, this is a good reminder for some – and first exposure for others – that there are also great resources at their fingertips in the local archives. Students learn the difference between primary and secondary sources and are required to utilize primary documents in their projects. In addition to learning about research methods, students also develop writing, public speaking, and critical thinking skills.
I’m already looking forward to September when a new batch of students come into our library and archives to start their projects for next year’s competition!
If you’re interested in learning more about National History Day, or want to know how you can get involved in your local competition, visit the National History Day website.