Curator Vs. Caretaker

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.

 

Books 

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 

Consultants

Terri Blanchette   http://timesorters.com

 

Website/Blogs

The ArmChair Genealogist  written by Lynn Palermo*     lynn@thearmchairgenealogist.com

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.

 

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Show Your Work

9780761178972Austin Kleon’s  Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered published  written in 2014  is a quick and helpful read for all ages,  Share Something Small Everyday is a simple yet wonderful concept  explained and nicely diagramed in chapter 3. This concept is perfect for aspiring creatives and artists to understand and immediately begin the process. Share Something Small Everyday is also a great strategy for young high school S.T.E.M. students who want to start distinguishing themselves from the rest of the pack

Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities , chapter 4 brings home the gem “Your influences are all worth sharing because they clue people in to who you are and what you do – sometimes even more than your own work.” Kleon.  In this regard, Austin believes you should always give credit where credit is due and don’t share what you can’t credit.

Learn to Take A Punch is a chapter about building resilience, something all creatives, leaders and visionaries need. I almost passed this by on the first glide by but realized the value upon preparing for this review.

This under 225 page book will take you no time to read, yet will provide some useful and practical insights for some parts of your own work  or your client’s. The thing to remember about this book is that it is SHORT, therefore don’t expect too much.  However, it’s the words and wisdom in this little book that will come in handy from time to time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Humor and Productivity

Sometimes you just need to laugh. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine. Medical experts have found laughter stimulates blood flow, reduces stress and can actually lower your blood pressure.

Over the years I have become aware that my life is just better if I don’t take myself too seriously. Our clients also benefit from our humor. It uplifts their spirits and has a beneficial effect making them more productive.

While looking at humor I realized there are at least 3 ways in our organizing businesses we deal with humor; first humor with self, then with clients, and finally, with our colleagues.

Humor with Self

Sometimes as organizers, coaches and consultants we tend to think of ourselves as needing to perfectly embody the heart and soul of our profession. I think we all have our foibles and areas of disorganization. My specialty is a compulsion to collect and maintain an extensive lipstick collection. The other day I had 12, a few months ago while on a 2-night vacation I tallied 17.

Now most of you that have actually seen me in person may realize my lipstick is not always apparent. How can this be? I am, unfortunately, not yet skilled at continuous and productive lipstick application. I might need a course in this.

In my office I have a series of humorous organizing cards I have collected over the years. One features a woman with a cluttered desk, 2 pair of glasses on her head and lots of interesting “stuff”. The inside of the card says, “Just as soon as I get organized.” Having this in my office makes me smile and is especially helpful now that I have transitioned to reading glasses. Put up some fun stuff in your office to provide some comic relief.

Humor with Clients

Using humor with your clients can bring a touch of levity on a tough subject, or a break from the monotony or stress of a situation. A well placed humorous remark can bring a much-needed smile and defuse a moment of anxiety. Clients, like employees, work better in a happy state rather than a depressed one.

It actually helps to admit a few (note – I say few not all!) of your areas of disorganization to your clients. This allows your clients to realize that you, the expert, are not perfect and have your areas of shortcomings. This helps to diffuse judgment later on when you end up being five minutes late or temporarily mislay a document.

Take some time to laugh with your clients and colleagues and finally start laughing at yourself. You will find that you create a more productive and enjoyable environment.

 

This is a revised best of post – you might also enjoy: 

Routine Reflections

 

 

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Time for Kudos

Kudos means a praising remark. We all like to be appreciated and acknowledged for our work or contributions. Let’s spend some time exploring kudos.

Why Give Kudos

There are a few reasons to give kudos. First, we all like to be acknowledged and appreciated. Second, appreciating someone’s work or efforts can sometimes be the catalyst to develop or deepen a new or existing personal or work relationship. Third, kudos are sometimes the sustaining embers in people’s lives.

How to Give Kudos

Kudos can be verbal or written. Kudos can be physically given as in a handwritten note, card or with a small token gift. Kudos can also be given via an email or on a blog posting can be made from time to time.

Receiving Kudos

It is nice to receive kudos. Kudos can be put up on a bulletin board or display shelf. Verbal kudos can be transformed to penned lines and inserted into an appreciation journal.

Appreciating the Giver of the Kudos

It is polite to acknowledge the sender for their sentiments or gifts, either by verbalizing your appreciation or by sending an acknowledging note.

Making Kudos Part of Your Routine

Take time to routinely reflect and send appropriate kudos to those around you. Kudos giving can be a nice break in a full or busy week. Kudos giving makes us look outside of ourselves, which can be helpful when we are too inward thinking.

Who can you give kudos to in your life?

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Renew and Refresh

I have been thinking about words that describe and encompass positive end stage turning points in change and transition. Renew and Refresh are two words that come to mind.

Renew is to be restored to a former state; become new or as if new again.

Refresh means make fresh again; reinvigorate or cheer (a person, the mind, spirits, etc. ).

Definitions from dictionary.com

Have you experienced either of these when clearing or phasing out of a transitional phase? Comments and thoughts welcome.

 

 

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Moving Forward

Hi, I am back. I’ve been on a sort of sabbatical the last six months due to extreme care-taking, settling an estate and dealing with the loss of a loved one.

It is great to be back and getting into the swing of things. While on my sabbatical I have managed to keep up my reading and researching. This year my reading goal is 75 books. For fun, I recently went to a 3-D Printing Workshop and found the process interesting and I definitely believe the availability and cost reduction of 3D Printers will start changing how we manufacture many things.

Professional I just re-certified in my profession getting my CPO-CD  and Master Trainer status renewal from the ICD for another three years. I also completed my ICF coaching credential audit for full membership.

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Stay Tuned

Life is a little complicated – so it is a good time to tell my readers to check back from time to time. I will be resuming my blogging within the next few months. Meanwhile check back on some of the thoughts from 2012.

In The Flow

Carrot or Stick?

Rushing – All in your mind?

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