Of Recalcitrant Staples, Paper Clips and Mould Mould Mould!

Instructions for mounting photos in a photo album from the early 1980s

The 'modern, easy and quick' self adhesive photo albums from the 1970s and 1980s are a bad place to store your memorabilia.

While the goals of a historian and those working on family history at times are quite different there is a considerable overlap.  I have found family historians very helpful while I have been researching the history of teaching reading.  Over the last few days I was reminded again about how complementary the two pursuits are.

I’m sorting through the archives of a local community organisation.  The work has been similar to the kind of work done by anyone who is securing the material that documents their family history.  An important task became evident while I was sorting through photos, letters and other memorabilia dating from the 1970s to just a couple of years ago.  I had to arrest the deterioration of the items in the collections and rehouse some of the material.  I am not an archivist but on the way I have picked up some basic do’s and don’ts of storing material for posterity.  It was the world of genealogy which first alerted me to the need to take great care about storage conditions of historical archives. Continue reading

Equipping Myself for a Day in the Archives

Equipment I take into the archive

My archive kit.

Many people engage in historical research – family historians, local historians, authors, academic historians etc.  For all of us, the opportunities for visiting an archive can be fleeting and the cost in terms of time, travel, accommodation etc can be high.  Thorough preparation for a trip to the archives is the foundation for a fruitful day fossicking through historical records.

The photograph above shows the equipment I typically take with me into the archive.  This equipment helps me to abide by my ‘archival principles’:

  1. Save time;
  2. Minimise cost;
  3. Maximise quality and quantity of work;
  4. Backup, Backup, Backup! Continue reading