Are you a caretaker or curator of your special materials? I am talking about your private or personal family collections. What is the difference you ask?
When we first inherit or start to collect material we may be just caretaking. And that is Okay. Curating before we are ready can be a big mistake.
Do you let the special material sit in the box and wait to deal with it later? If this is the case, then you are a caretaker. Or do you sort, label, arrange or classify and make some sort of arrangement of the material? Curators do that.
Good caretakers pack and store material carefully, in safe spaces free free from harm. Inquisitive little children or pets, pests or rodents can be an issue. Water or humidity or excessive heat or even excessive temperature changes within a short period of time can be a safety factor. Bright lighting or direct sunlight can also be damaging to your collection.
Are you ready to go from caretaking to curating your collection? The time has to be right. Maybe you are too tired of caretaking the collection so perhaps the time is right to pass the collection along to someone else to curate. After all not all caretakers have to curate.
Wise curators are deliberate with their plan. They think it out before they proceed. They seek advise if they need it. They don’t have to go it alone. Books, associations, organizations and solo practitioners are out there to provide assistance and advice to the curator. Remember seek help and guidance and think it through.
An Ounce of Preservation – A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs by Craig A. Tuttle
How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick
How to Organize Inherited Items: A Step-by-Step Guide for Dealing with Boxes of your Parent’s Stuff by Denise May Levenick
Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Other Prized Possessions by Don Williams, Louisa Jaggar
The Unofficial Family Archivist: A Guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia by Melissa Mannon
Terri Blanchette http://timesorters.com
The ArmChair Genealogist written by Lynn Palermo* firstname.lastname@example.org
The Family Curator written by Denise May Levenick
Family History Secrets written by Wendy Percival. This British site is more about writing and creating – but done in an interesting way.
The Practical Archivist written by Sally Jacobs
If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy an article I wrote about ephemera many year’s back called Don’t Throw That Away!
* This blog was inspired by a post a few months ago by Lynn Palermo regarding curating and creating. If you read my last blog post and book review you would know I am showing my work. Denise May Levenick’s book, How to Organize Inherited Items: A Step-by-Step Guide for Dealing with Boxes of your Parent’s Stuff, also uses the three concepts of Curator, Creator and Caretaker.