I’m an Amateur Archivist in Disguise
You see me as that slightly off-kilter mosaic artist, or as someone’s mom or grandmother, or that face which shows up at church trying to involve you in some whacky scheme or another to bring folks together. But, at the same time, I am a reluctant archivist.
I say ‘reluctant’ not because I don’t love old letters, photos, and family history, but because archiving and teasing out the stories is necessarily a hobby, and it takes way more time than I can devote to it right now. My efforts occur within little cracks in the time/space continuum.
After a number of years in art school, I did absorb the importance of treating paper kindly. I learned enough to get a start on adequately caring for old documents, letters, and photos, but I didn’t know enough about scanning, or about resources available for home archives to carry the preservation project to the next level.
Enter Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist. She is a trained, actual, genuine, real archivist who cares about the old family papers belonging to you and to me. She has a web-based business centered on educating and advising us in the care and feeding of our family histories. Just reading her blog will fill your mind with goodness and light.
I just purchased one of her products, a bunch of audio, as well as written, information about organizing the ole’ family papers. Included is a chart that any archivist MUST use to prioritize the job. As Sally and others point out, no archivist can work without using a workflow that is sensible, and without getting rid of some stuff from the archive, in order to make it useful.
You know where to find me- either in my studio- breaking and gluing stuff, or in my archive, plopped in the middle of magnifying glass, computer, Mylar envelopes, and America’s family history.