We're continuing our
discussion of the how's and why's of storing our genealogical and
historical materials - from paper to books and pictures to things on
film.to sound recordings, computer discs and even textiles.
Last week, we were talking about why paper things don't last forever.
This time, we'll talk about how you can provide a stable storage
environment for your items you wish to save.
When you visit a museum of any kind you'll notice that the environment
is always the same. At a museum, the temperature, relative humidity and
exposure to ultraviolet light all slow chemical deterioration.
Books and paper, computer discs and even phonograph records ideally
should be stored at about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity shouldn't
be more than 55%...and less than 45%. If you are storing photographs,
photographic film and magnetic media, you should try to keep the relative
humidity to 30% to 40%.
Most of us, at home, can't really accomplish these numbers. We can
avoid storing items in the attic where it is way too hot in the summer.or
in the garage where it gets very damp and cold.
Common sense goes a long way in saving our special things.
You should also remember to keep items away from direct sunlight and -
as much as you can - reduce their exposure to other light sources. Try
not to expose documents to bright light for prolonged periods of time.
Remember to think about whether the potential storage place is close to
radiators or heating vents.as these items should not be kept too hot.
As one whose home is protected by giant dust bunnies, I must write that
dust is another enemy of collections. If you can't clean the entire site
regularly, put your things in a box or storage container to protect them
Consider too photocopying your precious documents, photographs,
newspaper clippings onto archival - acid free - paper! There are catalogs
everywhere that feature papers and tissues and boxes, etc., etc., that
will ensure that your items will be around for your grandchildren and
great grandchildren and beyond to enjoy.
Speaking of grandchildren, there have been a few ideas recently that
sound like so much fun, I'll pass them on to all of you!
One of the readers of The Family Tree sent a copy of a special
newsletter he does four or five times each year. It has a circulation of
10 - the number of his grandchildren. The kids are scattered all over the
world, so it's a little difficult to keep the family close and
This grandfather fills his little publication with family information,
news, photographs and the activities of the grandchildren and the family.
Each issue of the newsletter for his grandchildren contains a special
question. Each of the grandchildren who sends grandpa a letter with the
answer to the question receives an extra special Christmas present!
Another grandparent wrote that when new grandbabies are born, she makes
a time capsule for that baby which does include a letter from
grandmother. She includes a newspaper, a magazine or two, stamps, a small
assortment of pocket change and even a special piece of jewelry for the
new grandchild . The instructions are for the time capsule to be opened
on the new baby's 21st birthday!
And finally, for today, here's a historical trivia question? Do you
know where the Liberty Bell was stored during the American Revolution?
The Liberty Bell was stored in the Zion High German Reformed Church in