Library to Celebrate Preservation of America’s Record
Special Collections Department Staffers Will Offer Advice on Best Techniques
Oct. 8, 2008
If you have ever wondered what methods and tricks professional archivists use to preserve rare papers, film, clippings and photographs, McDermott Library Special Collections has the answers.
For the first time Special Collections is recognizing American Archives Month and invites students, faculty and staff to a reception on Monday, Oct. 13. Visitors are welcome to discuss their home preservation projects with the curators.
Visitors will be able to get advice about preserving their own treasured documents and photographs. “We have suggestions on how to prevent deterioration and the proper way to store materials,” said Thomas J. Allen, curator of Special Collections.
“You want to keep material away from metal or acidic newsprint and paper, and away from ultraviolet light,” Allen said. “Plus, you want to minimize the handling of originals as much as possible.”
The archivists have document repair tape to keep torn materials from further damage, special pens that will not damage photographs and paper with low acidity to protect storage of items. “We highly recommend people identify photographs when they can so that any historic significance, whether it is limited to family history or more widespread, will be preserved.”
“Our staff will be on hand to conduct tours of the archives, demonstrate how archival collections are processed, and to answer any questions about what we do,” said Paul Oelkrug, coordinator of Special Collections and a member of the Society of American Archivists.
Special Collections has arranged a display of tools and methods in the spirit of “Celebrating the American Record,” the title given to this year’s month-long recognition. The display is located on the third floor of McDermott Library next to the entry of Special Collections.
“Groups or individuals wishing to visit Special Collections may do so at any time,” said Oelkrug, who said his department will observe the celebration for the entire month. The department is home to the internationally renowned History of Aviation Collection, the Belsterling Collection of botanical and rare books, and the Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library, one of the top seven in the country.
The Society of American Archivists established Archives Month three years ago as a way of calling attention to historical records located in archives and local history organizations.
“A major problem archivists face is that most people do not know what an archives is and what archivists do,” Oelkrug said. “We hope, that by observing Archives Month this year, we will be able to show the staff, students, and faculty the treasures we hold and what we do to make them available to the public.”