Sunday, February 12, 2012

21COFH - Stock Up & Catch Up - Week 7

This week we have two "topics."

First, we haven't discussed supplies we will need for our projects as 21st Century Organized Family Historians. In a perfect world, where budgets are unlimited, we would use acid free, lignin free, PAT passed, PVC free, etc. materials. Unfortunately, we have to make choices about the materials we use as well as the environment we store them in. We do the best we can.

Gaylord has a very helpful resources page that explains many storage options and materials. I'm not pushing this website. They just have some helpful information.

Some things to consider when selecting materials for your projects include:
  • Size and condition of photos or other papers.
    • Larger items are better off being stored flat. Personally, I tend to draw the line around 8x10 inches. Anything smaller can be stored upright. Larger is stored flat. However if the item is very old or brittle. I store it flat.
  • Age of the items.
    • Older items are stored in the truly "archivally safe" materials. More recent items might be just fine for now in boxes from a craft store.
  • Amount of future handling.
    • Pictures and documents that will rarely be handled are probably fine in paper enclosures or folders. Those items that you know will be picked up and looked at over and over might be better off in a clear enclosure.
    • Sally Jacobs has a nice discussion of Paper vs. Plastic that I have found to be very helpful.
    • Also, an item that is particularly fragile, like my great grandfather's naturalization papers from 1880, might be better off in a clear enclosure as well.
These are just a few things to consider when selecting your storage supplies, in addition to budget considerations. Remember our goal is improvement. So if your budget doesn't allow for several truly archivally safe boxes and enclosures, supplies from a craft store might still be better than the 50 year old dust laden cardboard box your treasures are sitting in right now.

Based on the inventories I have done, I try to keep a small supply of archivally safe storage materials on hand so when I do dig into a project, I can run with it. Otherwise, I pick up whatever boxes or other supplies I might need from the local craft store.

So, your first project for this week is to put some thought into the storage materials you might need based upon the inventories you have taken. If necessary, go ahead and order or otherwise round up some supplies.

Your second task is to play catch up on any projects from previous weeks that you haven't had the time to complete to your satisfaction. Personally, I'm stuck (literally) on an album rescue project so that's where my effort will be going this week.

Good luck and keep us posted on how your are doing!

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