Preserving Your Memories

Collecting, storing, and displaying history is part of our mission. In order to help you maintain your own collection, we have prepared some preservation tips.

Still wondering? E-mail, write, call, or stop by the museum to find out.


1. LABEL THE PHOTO. No one in the future will know who or what it is if you don't label it. Write on the back of the photo with a pencil - use a special Magicus pencil if the back is plastic coated. Pens and markers should not be used because they will bleed through your photo.

2. SCAN THE PHOTO. Get it digitized. But don't throw away the original - chances are it will last longer than the digital image - especially if someone forgets to migrate the data to new technology.

3. PACKAGE IT UP. Use ziplock bags to store and protect photos, or one of the better quality albums. Stay away from sticky stuff - you may want to move the photo later.

4. KEEP IT COOL. This is especially important for color photos, as cold slows down the chemical reactions that fade colors. (Avoiding direct sunlight or fluorescent lights is also necessary because it fades photos.) If you can bag them and put them in a freezer, they will last longer. Just be sure they are in a ziplock bag or some sealed container.

5. KEEP THEM DRY. Damp air encourages stuff like mold and critters - things that are not good for your photos.

Paper Items

1. SORT OUT THE STUFF THAT YOU HAVE. Only keep the things that are important to you or your organization. Don't get buried in paper that you'll never look at again.

2. IDENTIFY THE PAPER. Sometimes it's not clear what a piece of paper means and when it was done. Attach notes if you need them to remind you or your members why you kept it or when it was done.

3. THINK LONG TERM. Remember that paper can last a long time (thousands of years) if taken care of. If you write something and you think it's important, use good quality paper and plain permanent ink. Fountain pen inks are better than ball point pen inks, and permanent is better than erasable or washable inks. Keep paper in a place where it won't get too damp or too hot.

4. MAKE COPIES. The best copy to keep for a long time is a plain paper photocopy. If you keep newspaper clippings; copy them right away. Newspapers don't keep very long.

5. MAKE FILES. Divide up your paper by subject or date, and keep like stuff together; it will be easier for you (or someone else) to find things in the future.

Living History Interviews

1. What Kind of information do you want to perserve? Information on the founding of your Lodge, Camp, or organization? Early years and significant events in the history of your organization?

2. Who are you going to interview and who is going to do the interviewing? Decide who the best person to be interviewed is. Make sure that the person doing the interviewing understands that the object is to get as much good information from the person being interviewed on tape and not to hear the interviewer talk.

3. When and where are you going to do the interview? Time and location are critical. It's best when the people are fresh, not after a long drive or long day. A place without noise, interference, kids talking, animals barking, or other interruptions or distractions is ideal. It should be comfortable for all.

4.What information do you want to share? You must prepare ahead of time. What is reasonable in the time available? What information might they have? Check to see if they have journals, photos, etc. Use open-ended questions that will draw them out and get them reminiscing. Watch to make sure that you keep to the topic. A rambling discourse may not be what you need.

5. How will it be done? You need quality recording equipment. Good quality tapes are needed for both video and audio. Two cameras are better than one. Do an audio recording at the same time. Practice with your equipment before you start. Hitting the wrong button during the taping is not desirable. Store the originals in different locations. Make a copy for use.