Assess Your Collection

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by Mary Danielsen: Documented Legacy, LLC

The more you think about and assess the items in your life you’d like to preserve, investigate, rehouse, get appraised, write up or photograph, the larger your list will grow. Don’t let the process overwhelm you. At least you got started. Create a catalog or checklist of the items on your preservation to-do list. Next to every item write where they are currently stored or where you might have to look for them. If some items at stored or owned by another family member, add that to the list. You may have to ask permission to photograph or duplicate items. Now assess what the biggest threats are to your collection of historical family documents and heirlooms. Are they flood waters, sand storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, sink holes, ice storms, theft, misuse, pest infestation or wear. Is there an elderly family member who you need to interview to answer questions about the family history? This step will help you decide if you need to invest – even periodically invest – in new preservation supplies to rehouse your collections. It will remind you to research best practices in care or seek advice from experts. Now prioritize your list. This will give you an idea of where to begin.

Serious collectors may want to consult a professional conservator to assess your collection.

Move it from the garage or the attic and store it someone where it maintains about 70 degrees. Also, a waterproof container would be a big help.

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