How to preserve your family or community archive: the Collection Care Covid-19 lockdown blogs. Blog CC #11

  • Want to know how to protect books and volumes in storage?
  • Unsure of the best option for protective enclosures?

Today we will focus on books in storage (rather than books for display or standing on a shelf-more in a later blog).  As you’ll know from previous blogs,  there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer!  But here are some of the solutions we have used.

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

Do you remember when….?

  • Short of conversation when phoning elderly relatives in lockdown?
  • Want to capture family stories for future generations?
  • Know someone who witnessed significant local events?

One activity that households self-isolating together could do together is to chat to each other about their memories.  Our memories are unique.  Even if a group of us have witnessed the same event, all of us will remember it in a different way.  Sharing memories across generations is a particularly powerful way of both inspiring younger people, and confirming to the elderly that their lives have value and are important.

Dr Ollie Taylor recording the memories of Brian Mince, photographer for Fielding & Platt, 1952-74

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Tracking the owners of land in 1873

On a shelf in the Frith Room at the Heritage Hub are two large, fat, blue-bound tomes labelled ‘Return of owners of land 1873’.  They tell us that the Returns were ‘Presented to Both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty’ and were printed in 1875. The first volume contained English counties from Bedford to Norfolk (so included Gloucestershire) and the second Northampton to Yorkshire West Riding, also the Welsh counties. London was not included. The information was arranged in two sets of seven columns on each page. They record the surname of the owner in alphabetical order in each county, followed by christian name(s) and title, the address of the owner, the amount of land owned in acres, roods and perches, and the value in pounds and shillings. Nearly a million names were listed, 37,705 in Gloucestershire.

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How to preserve your family or community archive: the Collection Care Covid-19 lockdown blogs. Blog CC #10

  • Wondering how to protect larger items?
  • Want to know the best option for something that won’t fit in a box or drawer?

Today we will look at ‘outsize’ items – in other words, items too big to fit into ‘off the peg’ enclosures. You could choose to keep them flat, or roll them, but it’s important to avoid folding them or altering them in any way (don’t be tempted to chop edges off!).

Just to re-cap, you’ll know from our earlier blogs on protective enclosures that:

  • there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution
  • you need to use archival quality materials (blogs CC #5 & CC #8)
  • there are key rules and other factors to consider (blog CC #8)

Now let’s look at some case studies which show a range of solutions which we have used.  Continue reading

How to preserve your family or community archive: the Covid-19 lockdown blogs. Blog CM #2

  • Want to know how to deal with new additions to your collection?
  • Can’t remember where those old family letters came from?

In our blog CM #1 we talked about the importance of finding out and recording the “provenance”, or back story, of the documents in your collection. The best time to do this is when items are transferred into your care, or “accessioned”- the term we use for the formal process of transferring physical, legal and intellectual control of material.  Accessioning is an important step in building a collection and helps protect against the threat of dissociation (see blogs CM #1 & CC #4). So let’s look more closely at what it involves. Continue reading

How to preserve your family or community archive: the Collection Care Covid-19 lockdown blogs. Blog CC #9

  • Want to know which protective enclosures we chose?
  • Want to know why we chose the ones we did?

If you saw our blog CC #8 you may remember that we said:

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to which protective enclosures to use.”

You may also remember some of the ‘rules’ to follow in the decision-making process – if not, take another look before reading on.  And if you haven’t seen our blog CC #5 on archival quality materials take a quick look at that too.

At Gloucester Archives collections are brought to us in plastic bags (including rubbish bags), stationery folders, envelopes and boxes.  Here is one example: Continue reading