01 September 2011

Opening Day 1: Making a Photo Log of Box Contents

When trying to identify the people in photographs, other items in a memorabilia box often provide clues.  The items might all have originally come from one room or closet or might all have belonged to one individual.  Frequently the items cannot be archived together.  For example, photographs and negatives should not be stored together as the negatives release chemicals that are harmful to your photograph.

You can preserve the provenance of an item by including box numbers in your archival list and numbering and removing items one at a time for cataloging. Maureen Taylor suggests making a record of a box's contents by photographing each layer of the box as it is removed.  Links to these photos can be added to your archival list.

Looks like the evidence room at NCIS!
This box contains a variety of items: letters, notebooks, black and white photographs, an old photo album, a miniature chess set and even a Boy Scout pin.  Each of these items need to be archived in a different way.  Deciding what to keep is always a difficult task and the items 'making the cut' will depend, in part, on your storage space.  Consider donating historical items to a local archives or passing them along to another interested relative.

It is hard to resist the temptation to paw through the box looking for photos or letters but you will be glad you did!  I can't wait to see just what's been uncovered!

Taylor, Maureen A.  Preserving your Family Photographs.  Charleston:  Picture Perfect Press, 2010.

Taylor, Maureen A.  "Preservation of Photographs."  Boone and Kenton County Public Libraries.  The Photo Detective Workshop with Maureen Taylor.  Boone County Public Library, Burlington.  21 May 2011.

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