October 22, 2010

Archives Month Activities Continue: How to Care for Your Family History

On this blog the Montana Historical Society Research Center staff has discussed a variety of ways that archivists and librarians provide public access to historical materials. Another important function of working at the historical society is taking measures to preserve the materials in our care. Since the Montana Historical Society has staff that is knowledgeable about how to preserve documents, books, photographs, and objects—we decided to use this knowledge to give an Archives Month presentation to the public on how to care for their family history.

The Montana Historical Society Archives and Museum staff worked together to present a three part presentation on preservation: Lindsay Matson, Photograph Archivist, discussed how to preserve photographs inexpensively and effectively, Rowena Harrington, Assistant Registrar for the Museum, talked about how to prevent the deterioration of objects, and Caitlan Maxwell, Electronic Records Project Archivist, presented on how to care for documents and books. I am excited to say that we had a full house. People were very enthusiastic and had tons of questions for us on how to care for their collections. Some people even had useful preservation tips of their own to share with the rest of the audience. For example: did you know that you can remove photographs from a scrapbook safely by using dental floss?

In addition to our presentations—we also had handouts with contacts for licensed appraisers and conservators, as well as links to go for more information and preservation supplies. In November we are offering a second opportunity for the public to talk with the staff at the Montana Historical Society about preservation. There will be an open house on November 6th from 2-4pm where people can bring 1-2 small items (or photographs of the items if they are too large or fragile) to the research center reading room to talk with us about how to care for the item. It has been a very exciting Archives Month here at the Montana Historical Society!

Online Resources:

University of Washington Libraries: Annotated List of Useful Websites on How to Care for Family History

Montana Historical Society List of Manuscript Appraisers and Dealers