Historic preservation discussion held in White Hall

Published 11:39 am Thursday, August 30, 2018

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

A panel discussion with Robyn Harris and Dr. Tara White on historic preservation “Preserving is Caring” was held in the Theatre Room of the Lowndes Interpretive Center in White Hall on Saturday, Aug. 25.

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Harris, museum specialist for the Selma to Montgomery Historic Trail, and White, professor from Wallace Community College, provided preservation tips and tools for preserving and maintaining historic artifacts and the importance of recognizing historic sites.

Harris said, “The “Preserving Is Caring” event was great.  We have about 15 – 20 people from the Alabama Historical Commission, Alabama Department of Archives and History, along with members of the Tabernacle Church, Journeys for My Soul, and local people who are just interested in learning how to protect and preserve their family history.”

She said the National Park Service and Wallace Community College hosted the event.

Harris said, “This event focused on how to protect objects and artifacts within a museum as well as in your home.  We discussed how to preserve your history within your home, church and museums.   I explained how to mitigate any agents of deterioration and the special steps that must be taken.  These “agents” include Light damage, pest problems, environment, temperature and humidity, storage, security and fire protection.

Harris said, “Because the group was interested in how they can preserve historical papers and documents.  I explained to them preservation has change over the years.  A long time ago people used whatever they could to save documents for example, contact paper, or laminating papers to be placed in a bible or on a shelf.  We no longer use those types of products.”

She said, “The best way to preserve paper, maps, and newspapers is to lay them flat.  By laying them flat this will help control humidity. Extreme care must be used at all times, when opening the document from being folded or rolled up. Temperature is very important when it comes to storage of an artifact or document.  Conditions must be 75 degrees with relative humidity below 65 percent. “

Harris said the group also talked about caring for photographs, the do’s and the don’ts.

She said managing the environment is very important, keeping light levels at a low. “Make sure you store photographs in dark areas of the house or in storage for a museum.  Keep food, drinks and cleaning chemicals away from your photographs, storage space and work space,” Harris said. “In addition, museum housekeeping is different from everyday housekeeping. When it comes to dust on objects and artifacts avoid using wet cleaning of glass objects and ceramics.  Reduce the need to dust artifacts daily only clean once a week, they do not need to be clean routinely.”