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Due to Government restrictions Gloucestershire Archives and the Heritage Hub are closed to visitors until further notice. We will be contacting all pre-booked archives researchers and volunteers to rearrange new bookings in due course.

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Heritage Hub Collections Care training

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How to preserve your family or community archive: the Collection Care 1

Want to make sure you preserve your precious family memories? Want to preserve your community story? Do you have a personal, organisational, local or subject related collection or archive

It could be a small or large collection of letters, photographs, documents, computer (digital) files or other records that have meaning for you. Maybe you have been keeping them safe so that they can be shared and passed on to future generations. Your treasured documents provide a visceral link from the past to the future. They carry a thread of emotional connection down the generations and across the wider community. They can show who we are and how we live, relate, work and play.

At Gloucestershire Archives, through our National Lottery Heritage funded “For The Record” project, we will support people to: “document, care for, interpret and celebrate their personal and shared history."

The team at Gloucestershire Archives believes that, through these pages, that we can help you to look after your collection wherever you are! If you need more help and advice, please call us or come into the Heritage hub to talk about your collection.

We’ll start with a simple overview:

• Your records are unique and irreplaceable
• Treat them with great care as they may be easily damaged
• Avoid exposing them to heat, damp and direct sunlight
• Please make sure that people do not eat or drink near any documents, and that any tabletops and surfaces you use are thoroughly clean and dry
• Gloves are not absolutely necessary if hands are clean and dry but are recommended when handling photographs and negatives.
• Handle them with care using two hands to provide support, and a piece of card underneath if something is fragile
• Only handle photographs by the very edge and avoid touching the image surface
• Open books and other bound or linked items carefully, and only as far as the binding or fastening will allow without forcing or creasing. Close books when not in use
• Keep items in archival quality folders and boxes, as this will help protect them from damage and preserve them for the future
• Only use pencil to make notes
• Never try to repair anything yourself
• Digital records are less robust than paper or parchment and need active management.

Some useful sources to get started:

From the Institute of Conservation (ICON)
Documents and archives

From the British Library
Preservation guides

From the Digital Preservation Coalition

Page updated: 17/11/2020 Page updated by: Ally McConnell

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