The University of Colorado Boulder Libraries' Collections of Distinction contain a wide variety of rare and original historical records and materials that are valuable as evidence of our history, culture, and knowledge. We know many people and families have their own personal archival collections, including legal documents, books, photographs, home movies, and many other heirlooms and materials used to pass personal and family stories through generations.
This collection of information guides and resources was compiled by the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries' Collections of Distinction and Preservation sections to help you care for and manage your own historical collections at home.
1. Gather and choose the materials you want to save.
Determine what records, documents, and objects are most important to you and your family. Consider the following:
2. Prepare material for preservation and storage.
You may need to consider:
Keep your storage area clean, and check your materials regularly for signs of water damage, pests, or deterioration.
3. Clearly identify, date, and label your material as best as possible.
The ability of your historical records to be used and understood in the future may rely on how well your papers, photos, and other materials are organized and described.
4. Have a plan for your records' future.
Consider how your personal archives will be passed to future generations. Consult with a legal professional about how to insure your materials, to identify what copyright you may have for your materials, or to make legal plans for their dispensation in the future. If you're interested in donating your personal records to an archives, historical society, library, or museum, contact your local institution or alma mater to discuss their collecting policies and options.
Click on a link below to find resources on caring for and preserving the diverse materials that comprise your personal and family archives.