Preservation Matters: Caring for Personal Papers, Pictures, and Paraphernalia

The National Archives at Kansas City will be offering a free event, Preservation Matters: Caring for Personal Papers, Pictures, and Paraphernalia, on Saturday, May 5 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The event will feature talks on preserving family heirlooms, given by staff members from the National Archives at Kansas City, the University of Kansas, the Kansas City Public Library, and the Linda Hall Library.

As part of this event, attendees are invited to bring one personal or family item to the “Preservation One-on-One Clinic” from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. National archives staff members will offer one-on-one consultations on preserving family photos, letters, scrapbooks, quilts, or other heirlooms. No appraisals will be given at this walk-in clinic. Limit one item per person.

The schedule of presentations:

 8:30-9:30 AM

“Practical Preservation: Easy Tips to Use at Home”

Presented by Pamela Anderson, Archivist, National Archives at Kansas City

Learn how to properly care for and store family documents, photographs, and other items. Basic, straightforward preservation techniques will be discussed, along with proper methods of storage and types of supplies appropriate for use in personal archives. Learn about the steps that should be taken to save family heirlooms in the event of a disaster or emergency.

9:30-10:30 AM

“Caring For Your Print Photographs”

Presented by Lucinda Adams, Archivist, Kansas City Public Library

Photographs are treasured items you want to preserve for as long as possible. Careless handling, improper storage, and exposure to the elements can all ruin precious memories. Whether a 150-year-old Daguerreotype or a Kodak snapshot from a few years ago, all photos require care.  Examples and helpful tips will be provided to make sure you don’t lose these valuable artifacts.

10:30-11:30 AM

“From Scrapbooks to Quilts: Preserving Family Keepsakes”

Presented by Jessica Schmidt, Archives Technician, and Dee Harris, Exhibits Specialist, National Archives at Kansas City

Handmade family heirlooms are as varied and unique as the families that created them, often passed from generation to generation. Unfortunately, many are made of materials not intended for long-term preservation. Learn how to maintain and care for family diaries and scrapbooks, as well as options for reformatting deteriorating books. This session will also address properly handling and storage of clothing, quilts, and other 3-dimensional objects and artifacts.

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
“Vital Records in a Digital World”

Presented by Christopher Magee, Archivist, National Archives at Kansas City

Vital records, such as birth certificates, personal identification, and financial information, are extremely important records that need to be readily available in case of an emergency. The conversion of many of these records from paper to digital formats can complicate things. This presentation will highlight practical techniques to help manage, preserve, and access your paper and electronic vital records.

12:00-12:30 PM

“Tips on Organizing Your Genealogical Documents, Records and Files”

Presented by Evie Bresette, Certified Genealogist, National Archives at Kansas City Volunteer

In your genealogical research, you have collected census records, vital documents, obituaries, and a lot of information. What do you do with it? This session will give you tips and ideas to get it organized. Learn how to sort and assemble your valuable research into a binder in comprehensible order, as well as a special way to preserve those Military Pensions.

12:30-1:30 PM

“Preserving your Family Heirlooms”

Presented by Roberta Woodrick, Assistant Conservator, University of Kansas Libraries, Stannard Conservation Lab

Want to display that photograph of your favorite great aunt, and also keep it in pristine condition to pass on to your great-great niece?  Need some thoughts about how to help an aging relative preserve their treasured keepsakes?  Wondering about care and storage of your wedding dress, family Bible, or baby book? At this informative session, learn from a conservator how to take care of your family’s historical objects, documents, and images.  Demonstrations, supply lists, and vendor lists will be provided.

1:30-2:30 PM

“From Greeting Cards to Posters: Preserving Paper Ephemera”

Presented by Whitney Baker, Head of Conservation Services, University of Kansas Libraries, Stannard Conservation Lab

Ephemeral materials were not manufactured for long-term use, so the ones that have survived may be worthy of preservation.  This talk will feature paper items from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as newspapers, ticket stubs, baseball cards, paper dolls, comic books, posters, bumper stickers, maps, blueprints, miniature books, and scrapbooks.  Simple, straightforward solutions will be presented for storing and handling these materials.

2:30-3:30 PM

“Preserving Digital Images: Caring for Your Photos in the Digital Age”

Presented by Keri Cascio, Director of Innovative Technologies and Library Resource Management, Linda Hall Library of Science, Technology and Engineering

With the advent of digital photography and the accessibility of affordable camera equipment, many of us have begun stockpiling photos on our computers. As with physical photos, these digital images are subject to loss and decay over time.  In this presentation, Keri Cascio will discuss what steps need to be taken today and what actions need to be performed over time to preserve digital photos for future generations.

3:30-4:30 PM

“Something to Talk About: Preserving Family Memories through Oral History Interviews”

Presented by Lori Cox-Paul, Director of Archival Operations, National Archives at Kansas City

Though not immediately thought of as a traditional method of preservation, oral history interviews of family members are an important part of “preserving the past” for future generations. This workshop will cover the benefits of conducting oral history interviews, the best way to organize an oral history “project,” deciding who to interview, developing questions to ask, tips for conducting the interview and the media to use to record it, and how to use your interviews.

To make a reservation for this free event, please call 816-268-8000 or email: kansascity.archives@nara.gov.

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 15 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit: www.archives.gov/central-plains/kansas-city.

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