Glen Innes history: Preserving history

A lamination disaster: Laminating this historic photo has severely damaged the original.
A lamination disaster: Laminating this historic photo has severely damaged the original.

The family and executors of deceased estates often have to deal with possessions they have no time to go through, no interest in, no appreciation of what it might all mean or no storage for, so most of the “stuff” then goes to the rubbish dump.

Primary (original) documentation – historic letters, reminiscences, diaries, title deeds, photographs, invoices, Bibles containing family trees, ledgers, telegrams, notebooks, annotated maps, minute books, etc., are, to local historians, a gold mine and not a heap of outdated rubbish.

The Glen Innes and District Historical Society would appreciate the opportunity to first peruse old records that would be otherwise destroyed; or if family members do want to keep them, we can copy or scan and return.

Primary documentation is, to local historians, a gold mine and not a heap of outdated rubbish.

We are not qualified to restore or give advice on restoration or mending, but we can direct people to where to find professional advice and conservation materials such as acid-free tissue, enclosures, folders, boxes, clips etc...

How best to preserve items in personal collections? Here are a few of the methods...

Never laminate an original – make copies and laminate them. Laminating is a process that eventually will destroy that valuable article.

Never use sticky tape to repair paper or photographs – it is not removable and badly discolours items. 

Gently unfold documents such as letters, and slip into A4 or A3 acid-free sleeves – or order or construct your own special sized Mylar™ enclosures – always leaving one edge open.

Placing original items in acid-free enclosures means both sides can be seen and sticky fingers, coffee drips etc will not deface. Remove pins, staples, and rubber-bands.

Never use self-stick photo albums, as they will eventually harm photos.  Dental floss seems to be the best solution for removing images.

Label photos on the back with a soft pencil. Never use biro on a photo or document.

Do not scan or photocopy old and fragile documents. Instead, FlipPal™ scan or digitally copy them. Our FlipPal™ scanner can copy through glass or over large areas such as maps and has software to afterwards knit up the complete image perfectly.

Digital media has a limited lifespan. Keep away from light, especially direct sunlight and artificial lighting.