The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 21, 2001

News

Preserving town and personal history

Sometimes the best way to find something of value in your attic is to ask someone else to sort through the clutter. That's the approach the Carlisle Historical Society took when it brought in experienced archivist Melissa Mannon to conduct an inventory of the town's collections.

Mannon spoke about her work to twenty members of the society at the Gleason Library on September 10. Funded by a state grant, the Carlisle project involved an inventory of collections at the library, the town hall, Great Brook Farm, and the society. Mannon also trained the people in the various organizations on how to organize, manage, protect, and share their archives.

Carlisle has records spanning three centuries. There are about 5,700 documents and 1,500 items. Samples from the archives are currently on display in the Hollis Room at the library.

"We're starting with a small exhibit in the library," said Sarah Brophy of the historical society and author of the grant that funded the project. "We'd like to have programming throughout the year at all four places."

Archiving and preservation

Brophy said that the society plans to offer a session on family collections. In the interim, if you're wondering how to sort out your own attic, Brophy advised, "Save the things that are most important to you and your family."

Additional tips for preserving your family's history and records include:

· Write in pencil on sticky labels to identify people, places, and time in photographs.

· Store records in a dry place.

· Keep records in a place where temperature remains constant (not the basement or attic).

· Wash hands before handling old materials (better yet, wear cotton gloves).

· Use acid-free and lignin-free materials.

· Remove paper clips and staples.

· Keep items away from food.

· Donate to collecting institutions.


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