Now’s your chance to buy the Family Archivist Survival Kit

Family Archivist Survival KitProper preservation of treasured family photographs and other historical documents is really important, as I discussed here recently. Unfortunately, it can also be a little laborious to track down the proper supplies. And it can be challenging to understand the steps that are really necessary for proper preservation.

Fortunately, there’s the Family Archivist Survival Kit, from Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist. Here’s the thing: Sally makes this available only in the month of October. So if you don’t order by November 4, you’ll have to wait another year.

The 2013 Family Archivist Survival Kit is actually four kits in one:

  • Loose Photo Kit
  • Documents and Ephemera Kit
  • Oversize Kit
  • Photo Rescue Kit (for salvaging photos from those horrible old-school “magnetic” adhesive photo albums)

The first three kits include appropriately sized archival boxes and archival interior folders or envelopes. All these items have passed the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). The Photo Rescue Kit includes hand-held tools (white gloves, two types of pencils and a microspatula). In addition, you get ten hours of recorded instruction from Sally’s Joy of Organizing Photos workshop and other informational goodies.

I ordered Sally’s Declutter Your Photos Like An Archivist kit a couple of months ago and am now a bona fide fan girl. A professional archivist, Sally not only knows her stuff, she understands and sympathizes with the challenges family archivists face. So her information is accessible and relevant.

I first stumbled upon Sally’s information last January and wanted to buy the Family Archivist Survival Kit at that moment. Alas, I had to wait until October and, believe me, I bought it the minute I read the email telling me the kit was available. If you’re interested, don’t delay. November 4 is the last day to buy one.

Photo of the Family Archivist Survival Kit courtesy of Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist.


The importance of proper preservation

disintegrating scrapbook croppedI recently purchased the Declutter Your Photos Like an Archivist kit from Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist. The kit came with some great supplies and some wonderful info. And it included four live webchats with Sally last month for people who purchased the kits.

Great stuff. Great learning.

My takeaway was how important it is to properly store family keepsakes on paper so that acid doesn’t destroy them over time. It takes more effort. It’s more expensive. And the end result is that future generations will be able to enjoy and benefit from these precious items.

This is all well and good in theory. The application of it, however, can feel cumbersome, as I discovered when helping a client sort through World War II-related items left behind by her grandfather and father.

Then we found her father’s scrapbook, a page of which is pictured above. He obviously took so much care in putting it together. When he was alive, he refused to speak to his children about his war experiences and didn’t even let them look at his scrapbook. Now that he’s gone, his daughter can learn a little about his experience through this precious book.

But here’s the thing: The scrapbook is literally disintegrating. The papers held within are in okay shape. But the brittle, yellowed scrapbook pages were clearly made from acidic paper and they crumble at the touch. I’m hopeful that my client will make it a priority to rescue the items held inside the scrapbook and perhaps replicate it in an acid-free environment.

I so appreciate this reminder of the importance of proper preservation if papers are to survive to be enjoyed by future generations. Any time I hesitate to go to the trouble and expense, I’ll remind myself of this scrapbook.

Preserving photos and documents

BeaAdamscroppedMy father was recently sent a packet of aging newspaper clippings and some photographs by a cousin. She was cleaning out her mother’s home after a downsizing (her mother is my grandfather’s sister) and thought my father would enjoy the clippings and photos about his parents, Dave and Bea Adams. There were also a couple of clippings about my father, Gene Adams.

They were delightful to look at and read. My grandfather had published a small-town weekly newspaper (The Franklin County Graphic) and several of the clippings were humorous essays be him, about my grandmother. Real treasures. There were also photographs, probably taken by my grandfather who was also the newspaper’s photographer, of my grandmother all dolled up. I knew her as very casual dresser, so they were really fun to see. I’ve included one with this post–I don’t know why there’s a veil attached to her hat.

Anyway, I wanted to treat these treasures properly. The newspaper clippings are yellowing and getting fragile. They were mushed together with the photos in an envelope. Fortunately, I have a few resources that I’d purchased to help me make sure these items get the proper treatment. They include:

Thanks for these resources, I’ve done the following with my treasures:

  • I’ve put the newspaper clippings into an archival folder, separated from the photos, and will have them photocopied onto archival paper. (They’re too big for my scanner.) They’re safe in an archival box.
  • I’ve put the photographs into a labeled archival envelope in an archival box.

This is making me want to get my hands on more documents and photos. My mother has a box of them in her closet that I think I’ll bring home with me next time I visit.