Heritage Hub Collections Care training
Online Collections Care training
How to preserve your community or family archive
Advice on how to protect and look after your physical archive
- Collections Care 1: first principles
- Collections Care 2: writing a mission statement
- Collections Care 3: protective enclosures: introduction
- Collections Care 4: the ten agents of deterioration
- Collections Care 5: protective enclosures and suppliers
- Collections Care 6: action checklist and how to prioritise
- Collections Care 7: funding options
- Collections Care 8: protective enclosures: which and how to choose
- Collections Care 9: protective enclosures: case studies
- Collections Care 10: caring for large and "outsize" items
- Collections Care 11: caring for books
- Collections Care 12: managing the environment
- Collections Care 13: emergency planning
- Collections Care 14: safe handling and use
- Collections Care 15: working with a conservator
- Collections Care 16: preparing for digitisation
- Collections Care 17: storage and security
Collections Care 1: first principles
First of all, what do we mean by archives?
Archives are the record of everyday activities of governments, organisations, businesses and individuals. Archives may take many different forms – handwritten, typed, printed, photographic or electronic – and include audio-visual material such as video and sound recordings. As authentic and reliable records, they are preserved permanently because of their evidential and historical value.
Now let’s move onto 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: