Keeping with our theme of “weeks” – it’s Preservation Week (April 30 – May 6). Say what, you ask? Preservation Week, of course! Established by the American Library Association (ALA) in 2005, Preservation Week is focused on getting us all to take action to preserve our personal, family and community collections – whether that’s photos, books, artifacts or memorabilia.

So we ask again – what would you preserve? If you think about the items in your home, things that you’ve inherited from family, or organizations that you belong to, how will we tell their story generations from now, and what message would you want to pass along?

Some of the items that we are preserving for ourselves and our clients include:

Films and videos: Moving pictures bring to life key moments – whether it’s a momentous occasion like a wedding or bar mitzvah, or whether it’s films of our children playing. Films of any media type can be turned into modern digital files that play on a computer or tv. If needed, restoration work can often repair fading or improve the sound quality.

Documents: Family letters, invitations, newspaper clippings, work histories and so many more are often on fragile paper with fading ink. Digitizing documents and using technology to make them searchable means they will be more useful for family research and genealogy.

Awards, medals and plaques: Whether you have plaques from your grandfather’s workplace, military medals, or even award certificates from your child’s school, you can take pictures of the item to preserve it and share with others. Attaching an audio file to the picture allows you to preserve its meaning and context along with the image.

Audio tapes: Just like film, audio tapes can be turned into files that play on a computer. If you have old family tapes, you can capture the voices of your family members telling their own stories. Sometimes an audio tape will relate to photos you have of a family event and the two can be preserved together.

Preservation doesn’t have to be a big, all-or-nothing project. You can start small with just one item or theme. Perhaps you preserve your father’s military medals along with his career history. Maybe it’s the story of how your family came to this country, or the history of a long-standing family tradition. Wherever you start, Preservation Week urges us all to just get going!

At Photographic Memories, we’d be honored to discuss your project with you. We have lots of resources and ideas to get you going. And we’re happy to share our favorite options for preservation, archival storage, digital sharing and backup. All together now, Let’s Take Action!