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Preservation and How We Find Things
Preservation and How We Find Things

I wanted to share on finding that box of lost treasure that we all have come across or we have finally decided to go up into attic or the way, way back of a closet to see what’s there.  Whether you’ve made that commitment to begin your search on a weekend afternoon or you come across it by chance and curiosity takes over...  At the minimum, be sure to grab your phone to easily document your findings along the way.  As you unpack and handle the items, make sure you have washed your hands and have a clean surface to place them on.

I found this tin box within a larger unmarked cardboard box. The photo shows the bottom layer of the first box.

Start taking pics immediately, I always take a quick pic of:

  • The place you found it
  • The box you found it in
  • Before you unpack it
  • The contents as you unpack (sometimes the placement of things seem random to you, but document it before you separate items - if you are researching the items later they may be together for a reason).
  • If it is a scrapbook, take photos of each page before you remove any photos- again, they may be grouped together in some order that may make sense later.
  • Get rid of old yellowed plastic photo sheets, tape or photo corners for the preservation of the photos
  • Take multiple photos of each item and any written notes accompanying them, if your lucky!
  • If you decide to clean, preserve, or rewrap them - store them in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Keep boxes on shelves not on floors (water damage).
  • Now you are ready to take the detailed and curated photos of your treasures when you are ready!
  • Download the GenerationStory app for free and create a gallery of images to tell your story!

Check out these links for proper handling of documents, photos, objects:

    • Library of Congress:
    • Gaylord Archival: