We are closed

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.

Our key digital resources page will help you access our collections while we are closed.

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

 

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:

From the Institute of Conservation (ICON):
Documents and archives
Books
Photographs

From the British Library:
Preservation guides

From the Digital Preservation Coalition:
Handbook

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

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