MayDay_Archives_14The North Carolina Room is participating in May Day: Saving Our Archives by taking part in preservation initiatives that will help us protect our archive collections. April 27th – May 3rd is also Preservation Week. Get your family treasures together and preserve your history!

The May Day program is designed by the Society of American Archivists for cultural heritage professionals to do something simple in preparation for disaster response. Elements that are most damaging to cultural collections include fire, smoke, water, and mold. Collections can be damaged if they are involved in fires, floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes. Sometimes just a leaky pipe can create a disaster situation when it comes to archive collections.

Getting a conservation plan together, creating an emergency contact list, getting supplies ready, and so on, are some of the things professionals do when they prepare a disaster plan.  While the May Day activities are tailored towards institutions, there are activities that individuals can participate in for their own family archives. Think about your precious family documents when you think of your overall disaster preparation plans. Does everyone in your family know where the family archive located? Are items housed in containers and are they off the floor? Who is in charge of the archive? What will you do in case of an emergency? Proper storage of collections is the place to start and  family archive preservation guidelines from the National Archives provides tips on preserving your family papers, photographs, and video. Once your items are properly stored you can decide what you will do if a disaster situation occurs. When a disaster strikes, timing is a critical factor in recovering collections materials. Having a plan already in place is essential to saving collections materials from permanent damage.

The preservation activities we are completing today we took straight from the May Day’s list of ideas . We are creating a timeline to revise our Emergency Preparedness Plan. We are also making sure all of our collections are contained in boxes and off of the floor, and updating our contacts list.