2017 Virtual Genealogy Fair: Taking Care of your Family Heirlooms


I am Britney Crawford am the National Archives
supervisory management analyst and director of the Virtual Genealogy Fair. You just heard
from the United States archivist David Ferriero and I also would like to welcome you to our
2017 Virtual Genealogy Fair. Before we begin with the first session, I also have several
tips. Because we are broadcasting live, you can join the conversation with our family
historians and ask the presenters questions. There is a question and answer time at each
of the session. You can submit questions for a speaker two ways: Use the chat on your YouTube
page or join us on Twitter using hashtag GenFair2017. For live captioning open a separate browser
window and go to the link found in the YouTube web page. The same link is also available
on the fair’s web page. From the fair’s web page, you will also find a schedule and handouts.
Finally, please know that the video presentations and handouts will remain available on the
Virtual Genealogy Fair page after the event. From our web page you can also find previous
genealogy fair handouts and presentations. And now we will proceed to the next session.
This is session 1, Taking Care of your Family Heirlooms, our speaker is Katie Smith, you will learn how to properly store and handle family heirlooms she will discuss books papers photographs and a little bit about
textiles and other family heirlooms in particular she will discuss appropriate storage containers
where to put them in your home, and how to handle them properly and important tips about
digitizing what you have. Miss Smith is an education and communication coordinator at
the National Archives at College Park. We now welcome to the stage, Katie Smith.>>Thank you Britney I particularly want to thank all of those who are tuning in specifically
because they have family heirlooms that they want to take care of. The work that you do
in taking care of your family heirlooms is so instrumental to the work that we all do.
You are not just taking care of your family’s things you are taking care of the history
of the whole world it deserves a big thanks from us in particular. Because I really wanted
to think about this group that have items right now I wanted to do a step by step guide
for you. The reason being is that this can be a very overwhelming task. Whether you just
have one box that you need to organize or several boxes, you can get very overwhelmed
very quickly. So, it’s important to sort of ask yourself I have to run through quite a
bit of information in a very short amount of time but that doesn’t mean that you have
to run through all of this information with your own stuff all at the same time. Please
pace yourself, pace your budget. You know, pace your emotions. Do all of the things that
you need to do so you don’t end mid project but slowly take care of these things for the
next generation. And the first step of that process is really assessing what you have.
You know, it’s probably pretty rare that you are going to get an archivist tell you to
throw away stuff. But if it is you know like old reruns of happy days or something like
that, it might not really be worth your time or money to house it and take care of it.
So, ask yourself these questions while you are going through each and every object that
you have: The first is, is it really worth taking care of in the long‑term? You want
to focus on things that have familial value and will continue to have familial value.
The next thing that you want to ask yourself when you are going through the items what
medium or type of object do you have. This is particularly important when you are going
to talk about newer media that requires unique machines to read the records. That’s going
to be more important as I speak later on. The third thing that you want to ask yourself
is if you really own these items, or not, is it owned legally by another family member
you might want to include them in how you take care of this item and what way you want
to take care of this item. And the last thing that you want to ask yourself is what is damaged
and what isn’t. You know, just because something is damaged doesn’t mean it’s worthless. But
you are going to have to expend more energy on it. And depending on sort of what you need
from a conservator or professional vendor, that cost is going to vary and you are going
to have to make that part of your plan. Now, once you have assessed everything you
have gotten rid of things that you don’t see as having long‑term familial value then
you go about labeling and organizing the things that you have. Labeling is very important.
So, you might know who the people are in the certain photograph once you are gone they
might know it’s your great uncle or maybe your grandmother knitted the shawl. Make sure
you take the time to keep that familial value intact. The best way of doing that is using
pencil, pencil does not damage things in the long‑term like pen or other markers or things
like Post‑It notes will. So, keep with pencil when you possibly can. For items that you
can’t write on, try finding a I with a of attaching a label of some sort. You don’t
want the label to damage your items if you have very sensitive textiles use a soft paper
label of some sort. But label. That’s sort of the very key thing. As you are labeling
you really want to come up with a naming system for everything. Particularly sort of the who,
what, why, when, how. This is often called metadata. You want to make sure that that
metadata stays with its object. And whatever organization that you choose you need to stick
with it. So, if you want to separate things by their type, make sure all of the photographs
go in one place in and a spare photograph doesn’t end up in your book area. Or if you
want to keep it with families, make sure that you separate you know all of the Smith stuff
out from the Jones stuff. Things like that are going to be very important in the long
term. In particular create a key document. This key document is going to explain the
names ‑‑ the names titles and organizations of the things that you choose for the next
generation. Keep the key document with your boxes, with your things. You can even go so
far as to have ‑‑ take photos of the box not only will people know what is inside
but will know how to put everything back in the box once they finished using it. All right.
So, once you have assessed everything you have labeled and organized it. Now you need
to find the ideal environment to sort of keep it stable. There are several factors you need
to think about first is temperature and humidity. For most things the cooler and dryer the better.
Now, that’s not all things but that’s most things. However you also have to live in this
area as well. So, the key function is to make sure that your temperature and humidity doesn’t
rapidly fluctuate you see a picture of my own temperature gauge in my own home you don’t
want things above 75 degrees Fahrenheit I keep mine around 73. There are different parts
of your home that will fluctuate differently you want to avoid areas in your home that
fluctuate basements attics barns. All of these areas can eventually do damage. Damage like
this (indicating) mold is a huge issue. You want to make sure that you try and keep your
environment below 65% humidity the amount of water and moisture in the air. If you get
a little worried and field like you might have mold in your collection be careful with
it. See if it’s fuzzy splotchy and smells of mildew if that’s the case contact a professional
conservator I will explain how you do that later on in this presentation. 
Another thing that you have to worry about are pests. Pests will permanently damage your
items. But so will pesticides. So, you don’t want to spray your area where you are going
to have these things. What you want to do is just maintain a very clean dust‑free
swept area. Now, the best thing to do is monitor tests put out sticky traps check them regularly.
If you do see a problem contact a professional conservator. At this point in the presentation
I like to mention that not all pests are unwelcome. Your pets can also do a significant amount
of damage so if you have furniture, if your dog really likes to chew on photograph frames
try and mitigate that as best you can. I am sure you don’t want to lose either your pet
or the family heirloom that you are trying to keep in your home.
Another thing that is permanent damage is light. You are going to see this most often
on your bookshelf. A good example is this right in front of you here. As you can see
along the spine where the title of the book is the while is sort of going yellow and darkening
while the color floral pattern is lightening. This is called fade. There is no way that
you can reverse it this. This actually accumulates over time. This damage happens as it stays
out in direct light all the time. So, if you are going to set up a shelf with open books
or open heirloom items you want to make sure it’s not facing a window avoid any direct
sunlight. Another big issue is fluorescent light bulbs all light waves can be damaging
UV are particularly insidious. Remove fluorescent bulbs go energy efficient, you are not going
to have as much problems as you would with fluorescent bulbs. We mentioned dust with
pests and how they will attract pests of all sorts. Dust is also acidic and collect moisture
and can permanently damage things as you see here with this cracked class dust filtered
through on to the photograph and while we were able to cleanup this photograph that
sort of dark stain across it is permanent and we cannot remove it. You need to make
sure that you keep things out of dust as much as possible. So, if that sort of location
that you have chosen for your storage is sort of near a vent, you maybe want to close that
vent and mitigate it as much as possible. You never want to use any commercial cleaner
on your items. Any metal, any book any furniture, stay away from waxes or oils, anything
tarnish reasons. All of these things can do damage. You want to make sure that you are
just using a lint‑free cloth for things like furniture you are welcome to dampen it
with water anything more can cause a bit of damage.
So, the key thing for your small to medium‑size things is to store it in containers. You know,
as sort of a review, you want to sort of keep everything on sort of the main level of your
house, hopefully in an internal wall rather than exterior wall find a closet. Even in
the closet you want to use boxes, folders, things like this are called housing in the
archival world you want to house your things well and properly just as you want to house
yourself well and properly. Now, when it comes to boxes, there are a lot of different types
on the market. If you do not currently know the type of boxes that are storing your family
heirlooms, you might want to be suspicious boxes containing acids or oxidants for the
most part these things will damage items. The key thing is to go to a vendor. If you
go to any search engine you can type in “archival products” or archival supplies and a lot of
things will pop up things that you can go to. When you search the websites there are
things to pay attention to. The first is the phrase alkaline buffer. Acid free is a generic term, it’s really an
advertising term. So, you want to look for something that says there is alkalinity in
it, a buffer of some sort. It won’t save your acidic paper but keep it from getting over
everything else in the box. Another thing that you want to look for is to see if these
storage items are PAT tested and certified. Now, what that mean is this, the image permanent
institute has done studies on what type of storage is best for photographs and photographs
are particularly sensitive. So, anything that is safe for photographs is for the most part
safe for the rest of the items in your collection. What they developed is a photograph activity
test, and they will test different supplies from different vendors. Look for that certified
PAT test on your vendor site. If you don’t see it, contact the vendor, ask them if their
housing ‑‑ if their housing has gone through a PAT test and is certified. That
ensures that you use things that aren’t going to further damage your items. 
And on top of that you really want to make sure that you measure your items first and
buy a box that it’s going to fit. You don’t want to cut fold crease or do anything to
your family heirlooms you want it to fit snugly in the box that you buy. Make sure that you
measure the item first and buy later. That’s absolutely key. For things like oversized
items a lot of vendors have many options. You can get archival tools ‑‑ tubes where
you can roll things on to it. There are larger boxes for your items. Talk to your vendor,
really spend time talking to customer service on the phone to get what is just right for
your collection. And this can potentially be expensive remember
what I said budget, carefully plan and do this slowly. You don’t want to buy a box and
over fill it because you were only able to buy just a few. That’s okay if you are able
to buy just a few. But over filling or over stuffing can cause more damage. So, I always
do what I like to call the folder test if I try to pull up a folder from a box and other
things come up with it chances are it’s over filled if it’s swelling you can’t close the
lid, all of these things signify you over stuffed the box. Buy slowly and move your
items into boxes slowly over time as you budget. Okay? That’s sort of an example of
that over stuffing. Books don’t necessarily have to go into boxes they are in many ways
their own support there are key things to remember. First with scrapbooks or albums
are any kind you want to lay flat sometimes things might fall out of the bottom. Another
thing that you should probably lay flat is large volumes. Particularly if the paper or
the textblock as it’s called is very heavy inside that block of paper inside. If you
see it sagging in any way that will eventually tear away from the cover and cause damage.
You want to lay the large volumes like Atlases and dictionaries flat. For medium and small
items you want to make sure when you put them on the shelf that you put them according to
size. You don’t want two very small books supporting a larger volume in between that
medium to larger volume is going to distort over time. Make sure that you try and get
everything sort of equally supportive of each other. As I mentioned before with photographs
and films, it is really important to make sure that when you are purchasing items for
storage that you look for the PAT certified. This will likely also come in some polyester
sleeving it’s inert for the most part if it passes the test it’s okay. You could have
plastic reels for your film of any kind that is also available. The biggest thing you will
have to worry about is what other people have done in the past. There are a lot of previous
‑‑ albums that were used frequently that now do a significant amount of damage. One
of these classic examples is the magnet particular album that you see up here on your left. They
are not magnetic when they are strips of adhesive attached to a very thick paper board and photographs
are sort of put on and then covered with a very crinkly clear plastic. Both the adhesive
and the plastic is quite detrimental to your photographs. So, if you have this, make sure
that you contact a professional conservator to help you remove these items. You don’t
want any adhesive on the back of your photograph. So, try to keep sort of photo tab corners
especially stay away from rubber cement it was something used in the past we know now
from experience that they can do significant amount of damage. Metal items are in particular
a little tricky. You want to make sure the different types of metal items are not touching
each other. When they touch each other it’s very possible that one of those metal items
can corrode. For most of you the biggest problem is going to be silver. Silver just tarnishes
period. It’s important that you mitigate that as much as possible but that you shouldn’t
polish it. Especially with commercial cleaners. When you polish silver you are actually removing
metal from the object. Something that’s highly decorative you could remove the decoration
over time. Want to keep silver away from silk or leather anything organic in material
like wool they contain sulfur and add to the tarnishing problem. Another thing that I am
sure a lot of you have in your family heirloom boxes is textiles particularly clothing. You
really need to remove if it from your grandmother’s cedar chest it’s fine then what keeps moths
away does damage to your clothing. Remove items from the cedar chest particularly remove
the wedding dresses out of that crinkly plastic hanging up in your closet that will significantly
yellow the beautiful wedding dresses. If the textile is strong and can support itself you
can hang it up. Make sure that you use a padded hanger and a cloth bag rather than plastic.
Many will have textiles that are fragile and shouldn’t be hung up. In those cases definitely
store it in a box. However, it’s important to note that a fold now will become a crease
will become a tear later on. You want to support your folds. The best thing to do is take acid
free paper crinkle it up and stuff it in the sleeves or along the fold lines. You can take
cotton batting cover it with undyed cotton and support your textiles that way. Electronic
and magnetic devices are very sensitive you want to make sure that you use hard click
cases. You can readily find these on the Internet. A lot of these hard cases don’t necessarily
pass the PAT test I was talking to you about. So, when you store any sort of tape or magnet
particular electronic dries devices make sure you store in a separate box away from your
other items. You don’t want those cases to do damage. Another issue with this type of
media is it really is tricky to know if you should store them up right or horizontal.
You can go on to archives.gov and I will show you in this presentation how to do this later.
We have a list that actually says what type of media something is and whether it should
be stored. Either vertical or horizontal. And it will definitely help you in terms of
the best storage for your items. Lastly, it really should get off the floor. Now, in the
archive world we use metal powder coated shelving. If you don’t have that option, you can buy
liners from these conservation and archival vendors that I have been talking about this
whole time. But it’s important and key that you brace your shelving against a wall for
safety for yourself and for those items that is housing it. You want to make sure that
those shelves with fully support that heavy, heavy box. There are numerous times I have
walked into homes with sagging shelves. You don’t want them crashing down on you or your
heirlooms. People give the good advice put your boxes at the very top of the closet.
That’s a great suggestion be aware in any area where you have earthquakes or any other
disasters of that nature, those things can come toppling down off of high shelves you
not only want to brace the shelf but brace the box so that you are not damaged during
a disaster. So, you have stored, you have taken care of your environment, you have everything
organized. Now how do you go about handling your items for the long‑term? Now, the key
thing here is to wash your hands. You don’t want to have any lotions, sanitizers or any ‑‑
or anything that’s advertised to help you handle paper. Most of those waxy substances
that people use to flip through paper quickly can leave stains and other things on the paper.
You don’t want to flip through these things very quickly you want to handle them with
care slowly. Clean hands are the best. And also avoid food and drink and tobacco while
you are around these items. Now, when I talk about hand washing, a lot of people bring
up the glove question. Shouldn’t I be using gloves when I touch my items. Well, yes and
no. For paper items when you wear gloves you can’t feel if you are doing damage the most
recent conservation science says clean hands is best when handling books and other paper
items however for metals or photographs that’s when you need to put on your gloves. Now,
the question is should you should cotton gloves or other types of gloves. Well cotton actually
holds moisture. So, the more those gloves stay on the hand the more moisture is build
up in that glove and when you touch something that moisture and all of that content goes
into your object. So, I always suggest to people that they should buy a box the Nitrile
gloves you see in dentists and doctor’s offices now. They replaced lay text there are few
allergic to Nitrile. That’s the best option go on to the Internet buy Nitrile gloves and
keep it on the shelves right next to your photographs textiles and metal objects that’s
going to be the best thing for you. If you don’t do this, if you decide to touch metal
or photographs with your finger ‑‑ if your fingers, fingerprints will show up over time
and they are permanent. With photographs with metals your fingerprint will permanently show
up if you are not careful. So use gloves. Another thing to take particular note of,
is with older things, sometimes they resist you opening them. Let the object win that
tug of war. If you are trying to open something, if you are trying to open a rolled photograph,
if you are trying to open a book and there is resistance, let it be. Don’t open it you
are going to do massive damage as you can see on the right this one book was perfectly
fine, and then somebody opened it up so wide the pages started breaking off this is incredibly
difficult to repair. With photographs if you unroll them you can break the emulsion or
film part of the surface. Very difficult to repair. Things fall apart you have to realize
and understand that. The best thing to do is avoid pressure sensitive tape scotch tape
Post‑It notes or adhesive. The best thing to do is put your different pieces in a folder
and contact a conservator. You can store it for the time being tape will ultimately permanently
mar your document. You are going to handle probably a substantial amount of metal fasteners
paperclips grommets all sorts of items this rust can be very difficult and very damaging.
So, if you are trying to remove a paperclip and start damaging the paper contact a conservator.
They will be able to mitigate the future damage that you might do as you continue to try and
handle these items with rusted things attached. When you are moving your things from sort
of place to place, I do this all the time with my own stuff. You are sort of pulling
things out of your box you are getting very excited. You pull something particularly fragile
and you look around with no place to put it. It’s very key before you pick up anything
that you have a clean and clear landing surface for it. If you are moving something particularly
fragile put it on a stiff board first. Now, we are going to get a more sensitive topic
that is display and use. Display and using your family heirlooms really keep the people
that you have loved in your family close to you. I don’t want to say, don’t use them,
don’t display them. Because I really believe in that strong familial bond. You just have
to be aware when you use these things you speed up the damage to these things. As you
see here these are two items that I actually own from my grandmother as you can see I wore
her neck lass until it broke and I had to make sure that I repaired it. I put a photograph
of her when she was 4 years old in my wallet as you can see it’s sort of attorney and damaged
this photograph. When you can use facsimiles use photocopies and stick those pictures in
wallets or exhibit those in your home. When you use real items particular things that
you can’t do facsimiles with, you don’t display them permanently. When you could constantly
leave them up in your home you cause damage. Only pull them out on special occasions. You
want to make sure you contact a professional conservator or framer. And you want to make
sure the glazing doesn’t touch your object. And they are going to use appropriate way
to attach your material to the mount in question. Talk to them about adhesive or not using heat
adhesives in particular. And make sure that you know exactly the best sort of thing that
you can do when displaying your item. Once again as I mentioned lighting is bad in this
situation if you are going to display an item for a short period of time try to put it in
a location where there is a dimmer switch so you can dim the lights in that room and
not cause light damage. I talk a lot at the beginning of this presentation about familial
value and why you should not get rid of your object it’s important that you digitize and
make copies. Stand Ford university has created this lovely website called locks, lots of
copies, keep stuff safe, they give you tips and tricks how to digitize and get copies.
People forget they only have to digitize their stuff once but really you should convert to
new media about every ten years. Your objects degrade so does new media make sure that you
convert about every ten years and that you file name with your organizational file and
use that metadata that I talked about at the beginning. With papers and photographs, you
really can do this yourself. If you have a good camera if you have a good set up. You
are able to make digital copies for yourself. The best way of doing this is digitizing face
up. There are multiple scanners out on the market be careful some of those can in fact
do damage, the best thing to do is not sort of flip over your object and sort of push
it down on to a scanner. But actually you know, take copies of it facing up in a planet
Terry position where your camera is above the object and taking picture of it below.
Now with new media like electronic film media of any sort, you really shouldn’t do this
on your own it’s not getting the unique equipment to play it it’s making sure that you adapt
the equipment so you get the best possible recording. So, there are things that you should
ask your vendor that you have contacted to see if they are the right fit for you. The
first is you need to ask them if they will do a pilot test. In particular if you don’t
know what is on your media. They should give you a pilot test so you know it’s a filming
of a birthday party rather than show re‑run. Some people are okay with some are not I always
ask if they digitize in‑house. I feel the more removed you are of the process of digitizing
the more you are removed from making sure that it is recorded well for you. I always
make sure I am talking to the person who is going to be doing the job for me rather than
having a vendor take it from me and send it to an outside vendor. Three, you want to talk
about file type. You don’t want to talk about getting your items back in CD or USB or other
desk format. You want to talk about files. For example, with WAVE the recording that
they are getting, they are getting everything it’s not just what you can hear with the human
ear. It’s really great for archiving and making sure you have everything from your media.
But it’s maybe not the best for storage or for making copies for other people to share,
MP3’s compress their files they are great for sharing. Sharing is important you don’t
want to make multiple copies and keep them on one desk, especially in the case of disaster, share these make sure they are
in different locations. I tell people to gift them to other family members you gift somebody
and they are assuring the familial value is kept intact if and when one digital copy is
destroyed. The fourth thing I make sure the vendor in question really knows his equipment.
If you are getting vinyl records recorded you want to know about needle size or tape
cassettes recorded you want to talk about adjusting the Azimuth, you may not know they
should. If they don’t know what it is you should go to another vendor. All right we
are getting slowly towards the end some of you might have some wonderful questions for
me I am very excited to receive them. If you are anything like me, the real questions are
going to come up when you are facing those boxes and not knowing what to do. So, where
do you go for help when I am no longer in front of you giving you the advice that you
need. Well the first place that you can always go to is our own website it’s www.archives.gov,
scroll down you will see a list of words and you will find preservation among the list.
You can go ahead and click it and you will find a slew of wonderful information that
will help you with your specific needs like I said before, we have different media types
you can know how to store them we have things on emergency preparedness. We have a vast
selection of information for you at your fingertips. If you are not finding your question, you
can E‑mail us we have an E‑mail at preservation at NARA.org we will respond to those. Another
place that you can go particularly if you are looking for a conservator to help you,
I talked a lot about finding a conservator to help you with your projects. Now, AIC is
the American Institute for Conservation of historic artistic works you find them the
this observe site (indicating). On the left‑hand side you will find a button that is kind a
conservator when you click on the button they ask you a number of questions where you are
located and also you know what type of media that you have and it will pop up a list for
you that you can contact. If you are not in the U.S. there are different conservation
organizations all throughout the world. You can go on your search engines you can find
them. Most of them have these sorts of resources for you. So you can find a conservator close
to you.  Another thing I want to particularly mention on this front page is this area right
here it’s the national heritage responders, this is a group of volunteers who go to organizations
during a disaster and help them salvage the items that they have. I want to particularly
talk about this because disasters happen and right now we are particularly going through
major disasters. And our hearts definitely go out to everyone who is experiencing that
right now in their lives. There are ways to help. You can plan we have resources on archives.gov
that can help you. So, definitely make a plan before a disaster happens. The second thing
that you need to do when a disaster hits is that you take care of yourself first. People
are always first stuff is always secondary. You want to make sure that you are always
safe and that you don’t go back into your home until it is safe for you to do so. Typically
when people want to go back into their home they want to close doors turn on the heat
that’s the opposite. Open the windows get good air flow turn down the heat this prevents
mold from causing you grief. Fourth contact the national heritage responders or they do
not help private individuals in terms of actually going that their home and helping them take
care of their things but they will offer really good advice you can go to a vendor. There
are several available online just make sure that you get a quote from them in writing
specifically saying what they will do and roughly at what cost before they start helping
you. Once again, don’t get overwhelmed I just gave you a lot of information. That’s okay.
Sort of work plan slowly. And you will see the results of your efforts in time. So, thank
you so very much this is the time for questions.>>Thank you so much Katie, this is the disembodied
voice of Andrea Matney. Thank you for the genealogy fair, we have collected your questions.
We have quite a few of them. We will go as far as we can until we run out of time.
>>Okay.>> So, I have at least eight right away.
I think you covered this which picture albums are the best to use?
>>You know, the best picture albums are ones that have that polyester sleeving that’s PAT
approved. People react to plastic because a lot of plastic can be damaging. Make sure
it’s PAT approved you can slip your sleeves inside it. Another reason I suggest that you
can right on the back the data that you need you can write on the back who is in the picture,
where, when with those sleeves you can see the back and have that information readily
available.>>That’s a great tip. I hadn’t thought about
writing on the back.>>Great question.
>> It is. Will scanning damage photos?>>So, it depends on the scanner. That is
an excellent, excellent question. You really need to make sure that you scan in a way that
fully supports your item. So, a lot of scanners come with scanning beds. You want to make
sure that your items don’t overlap the beds if you can help it a lot of scanners have
sticky parts where you stick your items to be scanned. Once again that’s adhesive that
can leave residue and damage your items over time. A lot of people will use sort of the automatic
feed and regular copiers that’s also probably not a good idea I can’t tell you how many
times those things can jamb on you and destroy your document. Make sure when you go you are
looking for something that can support, doesn’t have any sticky parts. You can use them for
sure. You also don’t want anything that will rub against your item if you can help it there
are a lot of wands out there where it’s wands over. The friction from that can cause damage
if you have friable media or media popping off your papers or photographs. That’s why
I also suggest a planetary system where the camera is above. There are scanners out there
that are safe.>> Fantastic. I love your detailed answers.
Thank you.>> Thank you.
>>So this is a really cool she is so lucky she has a question about how to store tin‑type
photos and how to duplicate them.>> Oh, I love tin‑type they are made out
of iron not tin you really need to treat them like a metal. The best way of do storing them
is keep them separate from other metal types a lot of tin types have their own boxes or
containers those are perfectly safe. If she has those boxes or containers she can leave
them in there and store them in sort of separate boxes. If she doesn’t, you know, by all means
she can wrap them in acid‑free tissue and store them that way. Your biggest problem
is going to be with iron, of course rust issues. As long as you mitigate your humidity keep
the water moisture in the air too high it’s going to be okay you are going to be fine
that’s an exciting collection to have.>> I agree. Thank you so much. Our next question,
I have my grandfather as World War II photo album leather album cover falling apart pages
and photo corners intact I was going to transfer them to a new album or am I better to remove
pages and save originals?>>That is such a good question. In so many
ways that is going to be left up to you. Yes, the leather in this time period is not great,
it was processed not well. There is a lot of acid in the leather which over time destroys
it. I can only imagine what the leather cover looks like. Now, if that leather cover is
dusting, that is acidic it gets on the photographs you might have a problem you are introducing
acid on to the photographs. If that leather isn’t dusting by all means, you can keep it
in there for a while. But you should definitely watch it, and over time, you might want to
start slipping those photographs into sort of plastic polyester sleeving that doesn’t
mean that you necessarily have to get rid of the album. You can keep both if the album
is significant to you. If it reminds you of World War II and the time period by all means
treat it like any other object you have and keep it. But just be aware of that dusting
of the leather that really can cause problems with your photographs later on.
>>I think another similar question she is concerned about (inaudible) she asked I inherited
a collection of mid-20th Century photos in as sorted frames should I remove the photos
from the frames or keep them in place for the purpose of promenade.
>>That is such a great question. I am going to make the assumption those photo frames
have the glass actually touching the photograph. You really don’t want that photograph touching
the glazing of those frames. The reason why I say this is over time that emulsion can
stick to the glass in some cases it’s impossible to remove it from its glass. If you can remove
it, I would suggest do so. Or at least put a barrier inside the frame in between the
photograph and the frame itself so that that glazing is no longer touching the photograph.
Now, proper providence sake she can see if the frames have value. If the frames have
dates on them. I would advise that you write that date on the back of the photograph. But
those are sort of all questions that you are going to have to sort of tackle on your own,
unfortunately. So, yeah.>>I am going to move along to a question
that deal with paper and then we have some other ones are different types of media.
>>Awesome.>> He so one person writes: I have an 1800
marriage certificate that is fading and falling apart. It is oversized. Should I store it
in a tube or flat?>>That is a great question. I always suggest
that flatter is best. You know, really, really large items, and if you don’t have space to
store them by all means roll it on to a tube. This sounds like this is already falling apart.
You don’t want to mess with curving it in any way this point in I am too. The best option
is flat. Marriage licenses can be very beautiful that fading is permanent unfortunately. Make
sure you keep it out of light. Keep it from fading any more than it already is.
>> Thank you so much.>> You are welcome.
>>We have the next question, I think it might be the answer depends how much you want to
spend on it. (LAUGHTER).
>> The question is:  I had a 1898 family Bible that is quite large and the binding
is slowly coming apart is it best to get it repaired or should I store it as is?
>>That is such a great question, I think that is a question for many, many, many people.
Those family Bibles are notorious or falling apart. They are also notorious in putting
them back together. It really depends on your budget. If you wanted to see, you know this
thing back in pristine form, contact a conservator make sure you get a budgetary quote before
that conservator starts to tackle that big of an object. I always tell people that with
something like that, it is ‑‑ it’s going to be just fine to store it. Now, that doesn’t
mean you shouldn’t contact a conservators they can make storage and boxes that fit the
item perfectly. So that Bible isn’t jiggling around and causing more damage later on. Contact
the conservator have them make a special box it will be cheaper than the actual conservation
of a very large volume that’s actually falling apart. Another key thing that you want to
pay attention to in these family Bibles are those pages talking about birth marriages
and death. Those things are probably the most valuable and contain the most familial value.
Before doing anything you might want to consider copying those and sharing these copies with
family before you go into the lengthy process of fixes it and re‑binding those things.
If it’s damaged you can easily remove them at this point of time take photocopy tees
and consider conservation afterwards.>>Thank you so much.
>>You are welcome.>> Now on to questions ‑‑
>>I will do my best.>>This is so sweet somebody says: How to
duplicate an old 78 recording of my mom singing to MP3?
>>Oh, that is so lovely. By all means contact a vendor. With something like that that means
so much to you. I would consider maybe at least getting one copy that’s WAV, which is
that full recording format. That’s the one that is not compressed at all. Now, that will
have a lot of space but if you make one for yourself. That’s going to be ideal. And make
MP3 cop fees ‑‑ copies for your family as well. That would be the best thing to do.
>> Thank you. Okay. Different type of media. This is great family heirloom what is the
best way to store an 1881 quilt?>>Quilts are so wonderful and they are particularly
fragile with all of their sort of stitching, and many, many things. People really want
to display them I should add. With a quilt, you can sort of roll them on rolled storage.
Make sure that you roll outside the tubing. I didn’t mention that I should. You should
roll outside the tube and cover it acid free paper and tie it. That’s going to be the best
option. The key is you can’t necessarily put it up right and hang it in the closet after
time the gravity will pull the quilt down. If you can leave the roll flat somewhere under
a clean bed that’s going to be your best option. But really don’t consider you know, displaying
that for a long period of time, quilts can be very fragile.
>>Thank you. I was going to go on to a question that’s again about textiles, I inherited a
hand embroidered table cloth, circa 1920, cut into sections with each section individually
in a wood frame should I keep them framed or take them out or store them as textiles.
>> That’s such a great question. That’s more common, I get a lot of questions like that
in which family cut up something so that each person in the family can keep the item. That’s
really a discussion that you should have with your family. Once again if they are framed
you want to make sure the textile isn’t touching the glazing you might want to remove them
from the frame. The real question is what is going to be best for your family. Does
your family still want those individual pieces so each family member can keep the items or
do you want to hire a conservator to stitch them back together if possible. It’s hard
to judge I can’t see the textile in front of me. I don’t know it’s possible I would
have her consult a textile conservator, they can give her better advice as to whether she
can even stitch them back or not.>>Thank you very much.
>> You are welcome.>> On to a different type of precious family
heirloom.>>I love it.
>> Someone asks: How do you best preserve athletic medals and trophies?
>> You know that is a real thing. Any sort of medal, whether athletic or even sort of
war medals from soldiers in the past you know all of these things are composite materials
meaning they could be made of wood, plastic, metal all rolled up into one. The best thing
to do is to make sure that you sort of wrap them individually so they are not touching
other metals, you know if you have them all in one box jangling around, that is going
to cause corrosion problems with the medals. You want to wrap them in paper items. I should
mention with trophies, tea pots, things of that nature you don’t want it pick it up by
the fragile part most often the handle. When you are picking up trophies or anything else,
you want to pick it up at the stable base. Make sure you pick them up on the base and
wrap them in acid‑free paper and stick them in a box, that’s going to be the best option.
>> Thank you so much. Great.>>So, we have someone who has come back with
another question. Thank you for answering my question. She swears, last question. I
have a dried rose from my great‑grandmother’s funeral is that just a sentimental item to
save or worth archiving?>> That is really a personal question. And
particularly organic things that are going to fall apart over time, that’s going to
be the an option for you. If you plan to keep it, you should be aware that metals will start
falling off. Wrap it in case, make sure things aren’t really hitting it a lot. But you know
it depends on what is sentimental or not the picture of the necklace I showed you my grandmother
gave it to me because she thought it was ugly. I loved it she had no sentimental value. But
I have a huge sentimental value because it was a gift she gave as a joke and how much
do I love her for that. I can’t gauge your sentimental feelings. I think those things
definitely have value your feelings towards something do have value. Really take that
into consideration and don’t let anyone call you silly for having sentimental feelings
about anything that you are keeping.>>Nice. Thank you.
>> Yes. Let’s see, I am going to go on to something that I think more people are running
into these days more modern archivist type questions. If you are starting fresh preserving
digital photos and files what is the recommended media storage to do now for the future, portable
hard drives in addition to cloud storage or something else?
>>Well, that is such a great question. Especially now that we are dealing with a lot of born
digital items, as well if it’s born digital do you print a paper copy or do you keep it
on the cloud? What do you do?>> My advice, put it in multiple storage
types if you put it on the cloud don’t just put it on the cloud make sure you have a CD
or portable hard drive as well as a different type of copy. There are a lot of companies
on the Internet right now what you are storing photographs for you. You never know when those
companies might not make it. And there are sort of stories out there of people completely
losing all of their photographs because these companies went under. Make sure whatever you
decide definitely choose different types. There is a lot of advertisements about, you
know, the best storage that will last a thousand years or storage that lasts a hundred years
whether it be CDs or other different drives. The fact of the matter is we just don’t know.
We don’t know if those things will last a hundred years and we don’t know if we will
have the equipment to play it in a hundred years. So, the key is to just make sure that
you continue to convert to new media every 10 years that seems like such a short amount
of time if you think about floppy disks, zip drives, all of those things advertised lasting
a long time simply aren’t around more you can’t play them on anything that’s the best
go to when you are starting out fresh.>> Thank you very much.
>> You are welcome.>> We still have questions coming in, however,
we need to take intermission break so you can connect with our next presenter. Thank
you so much. You have a many, many kudos including you rock Katie. Thank you for the presentation.
Thank you so much.>> Well, thank you so much for listening
and please feel free to continue asking your questions they are beneficial to everyone.
Thank you.>> You mentioned already one way to ask questions
is to go on to our web page and we also have a generic E‑mail address if you can’t find
the other one, it’s for all research questions, it’s [email protected]

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