How to preserve your family or community archive: the Collection Care Covid-19 lockdown blogs. Blog CC #1

  • Time on your hands during the lockdown?
  • Want to make sure you preserve your precious family memories?
  • Want to preserve your community story?
  • Do you have a personal, organisational, local or subject related collection or archive?

It could be a small or large collection of letters, photographs, documents, computer (digital) files or other records that have meaning for you. Maybe you have been keeping them safe so that they can be shared and passed on to future generations. Your treasured documents provide a visceral link from the past to the future. They carry a thread of emotional connection down the generations and across the wider community. They can show who we are and how we live, relate, work and play.

At Gloucestershire Archives, through our National Lottery Heritage funded “For The Record” project,  we will support people to: “document, care for, interpret and celebrate their personal and shared history”.

Over the next few days and weeks, the team at Gloucestershire Archives, will help you to look after your collection wherever you are, through a series of blogs.

We’ll start with a simple overview:

  • Your records are unique and irreplaceable
  • Treat them with great care as they may be easily damaged
  • Avoid exposing them to heat, damp and direct sunlight
  • Please make sure that people do not eat or drink near any documents, and that any tabletops and surfaces you use are thoroughly clean and dry
  • Gloves are not absolutely necessary if hands are clean and dry but are recommended when handling photographs and negatives.
  • Handle them with care using two hands to provide support, and a piece of card underneath if something is fragile
  • Only handle photographs by the very edge and avoid touching the image surface
  • Open books and other bound or linked items carefully, and only as far as the binding or fastening will allow without forcing or creasing. Close books when not in use
  • Keep items in archival quality folders and boxes, as this will help protect them from damage and preserve them for the future
  • Only use pencil to make notes
  • Never try to repair anything yourself
  • Digital records are less robust than paper or parchment and need active management. We’ll look at how you can help them survive into the future in a later blog

Watch this space for more from us.  Or for more information right now, visit our trusted sources:

From the Institute of Conservation (ICON)

From the British Library

From the Digital Preservation Coalition

This blog is based on Gloucestershire Archives Heritage Hub Collection Care training developed by Ann Attwood ACR Collections Care Development Officer and Rachel Wales ACR Collections Care Conservator. 

The For the Record project is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund 

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