Heritage: This is Preservation Week!

Heritage: This is Preservation Week!


Preservation Week is celebrated in the US during the week of April 22-28.

Although it was created in 2010 to raise awareness of some 630 million items in institutions which require immediate care, it also focuses on protecting personal and family history collections.

Some 80% of institutions have no paid staff to care for collections; and 22% have no staff at all (paid or not) for that purpose. An estimated 2.6 billion items are not covered by an emergency plan, and are in danger from disasters.

Events and programs over the week bring attention to the fact that personal items, family history and community collections are also at risk.

Check out the event’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/preservationweek, and follow their tweets at #preswk.

During Preservation Week, libraries all over the US offer events, activities and resources that help us  preserve personal and shared collections.

The ALA has compiled resources to help you preserve your family treasures and learn what to when disaster strikes. There’s also an activity guide to get the whole family involved.

Check out local events in your area  In 2010, more than 60 events took place throughout the US.

Here are some quick and simple tips to help care for your own heirlooms and research. (You can also visit the @ Your Library website for more information.)

  • Handle gently: Protect items from dust, dirt, oil, food, and other hazards by handling them carefully.
  • Store properly: Protect them from light, temperature extremes and humidity. Learn what storage options are right for your items.
  • Avoid risks: Check out storage and displays. Look out for such problems as water, mold, and breakage. Relocate items and store properly to protect them.
  • Make copies: Copy photographs, newspapers and letters. Store originals away from light and use the copy. Scanned copies make sharing easy. Remember to use various methods to store digital copies (“in the cloud” and on CDs) and make sure to send copies to family members in other places. A family site on MyHeritage.com will provide a way to preserve your family tree, photographs, documents, audio and video recordings to share them with your family.
  • Ask the professionals: Not sure how to handle or store some items? Talk to professionals to avoid making mistakes.
  • Visit a library, museum or archives: A local organization can provide good resources and more tips on preserving your treasures.
  • Pass it on: Remember to share your priceless treasures with family.

For additional resources:

If digital preservation is as fascinating to you as it is to me, the Library of Congress provides a blog – “Signal” – which focuses on just that. It’s available to view and subscribe.

What have you done to protect your family history research, including documents, photographs, computer files and more?

Let us know how you store and protect your family treasures in the comments below.

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