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Celebrating Preservation Month with the Archives

Archival boxes with labels on shelfs

May is national preservation month, something we archivists are very passionate about. To celebrate with you, the California Room would like to explain to you why preservation is important, let you know about a free service we provide, and share a few preservation tips.

Why Is Preservation Important?

three old books laying together on their side

According to the definition of preserve is “to keep alive or in existence”. Simply put, preservation is what libraries and archives do to prolong the life of books, photos, records, and other materials while making as few changes to them as possible. Our goal in the California Room is to collect and preserve materials on California history with an emphasis on San Jose and Santa Clara County. Some of the methods we use to preserve materials include rehousing them in special containers, placing them in climate controlled environments, and digitizing them. We take preservation seriously, which is why we raise a glass in the month of May.

Our Retro Tech

image of film, slides and other analog media

Recently we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our Retro Tech program. The Retro Tech program is a free service where you can bring in your analog media, such as slides, 8mm and Super 8 film, photos, and cassette tapes, and learn how to digitize them with the help of our wonderful volunteers. Once the we're able to schedule appointments again, we'll be happy to help you preserve your memories.

Preservation Tips for Everyone

image of old photos, letters, postcards, and books

We would like to finish our celebration by providing a few preservation tips that everyone can do at home:

  1. Avoid storing items in the basement or attic; it is best to keep them in an environment with a stable temperature.
  2. Store materials in the dark; light can cause them to fade faster.
  3. Avoid using paper clips, glue, tape, pens, adhesive, rubber bands, and photo albums that use glue. These items can cause materials to deteriorate.
  4. Use a pencil to write who, when and where information on the back of photographs, without pushing too hard. Over time, pen can leak through and stain the image.


Thank you for celebrating with us!

Blog Category
Local History

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