Melissa Barker, aka The Archive Lady, shares her insights on why archival boxes are important for preserving family heirlooms
Over the past few weeks I have been getting many emails asking me about archival boxes, so this week’s column is going to answer several questions that some of you have emailed me about archival boxes:
“Is there an archival box for my family heirloom?” (Please insert your particular family heirloom)
Let’s face it, many of the items we as genealogists have in our family history collections are unique and sometimes odd shaped. These are usually called family artifacts or family heirlooms. These items help to tell our ancestor’s story and also help to remind us of our family members that are no longer with us. Just holding these items takes us back to our childhood or helps us to imagine what our ancestors were like when they owned a particular artifact. One of my favorite artifacts is the quilt my Mother made for me.
Trying to archive or preserve these items can be a challenge but with the right archival box, it can be done!
These items are those 3-dimensional items that we might display on a shelf or bring out at family gatherings to show to our family members. They are a point of contact with our ancestors and they have true family history meaning to us and are items we cherish. Just like our paper documents, our family artifacts should be preserved and stored correctly so that they survive for future generations to enjoy.
We are fortunate that the online archival stores (see list below) know our need for archival boxes of all shapes and sizes and have provided quite a selection. Protecting our precious family artifacts should be a top priority and one that I take very seriously as a genealogist and archivist.
Hat Box from Gaylord Archival
Do you have an American flag that was draped over your ancestor’s casket during a military funeral service? There is a wonderful archival box just for American flags or for any flag that you may have in your collection. They come in different sizes to meet your needs.
Do you have your Grandmother’s favorite doll? Or maybe your favorite doll from when you were young? There is a perfect archival box for dolls.
Do you have Christmas ornaments that are special and you consider family heirlooms? There is a great archival box available to keep them safe when they are stored.
One of the best ways to find these wonderful and unique archival boxes is to search the archival store catalogs. You can search the online catalogs of these stores but I always encourage genealogists to order a FREE paper catalog. When I get my archival catalogs in the mail, it’s like getting the Sears Christmas Wish Book! I love sitting down with a cup of coffee and looking at all the wonderful archival boxes that are available in the catalog. Also, don’t forget to get plenty of archival tissue paper to wrap around you artifacts and to put into the boxes to keep them cushioned and stable in the box.
Lastly and most importantly, storing our artifacts in a cool, dark and dry place will insure that our precious family heirlooms will survive the ravages of time and the environment. High temperatures, sunlight and humidity can destroy documents, photographs and artifacts very quickly. Never store these items in an attic, basement or garage. Where we store our genealogical records and artifacts is very important.
So, whether you have your Dad’s bowling trophy or Great-Grandma’s handmade quilt, I guarantee, there is a box for that!
Here is a listing of several archival stores that will send out FREE paper catalogs:
- Gaylord Archival
- Hollinger Metal Edge
- University Products
- Light Impressions
- Archival Methods
- Print File Archival Storage
Melissa Barker’s Legacy Quick Guides
Metal Paper Clips, Rubber Bands and Tape, OH MY! Legacy QuickGuide
- PDF Version: http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=2883
You Can Now Follow The Archive Lady on Facebook
If you have a question about researching in archives or records preservation for The Archive Lady, send an email with your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Barker lives in Tennessee Ridge, Tennessee. She is the Houston County (TN) Archivist and a Professional Genealogist. She writes the blog, A Genealogist in the Archives, and has been researching her own family for over 26 years. She lectures, teaches and writes about researching in archives and records preservation.
©2019, copyright Melissa Barker. All rights Reserved.