East Texas librarians encourage residents to properly preserve collectibles

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - When disaster strikes, what personal items you would grab and try to save?

A lot of people answer family photos, books, bibles and letters.

Object preservation is also a concern for historians, curators and librarians.

The East Texas Research Center is one of many area cultural organizations.

At each site, thousands of historic items are preserved.

Just like your collection at home, curators are facing potential disasters and daily challenges.

"For us it's not even necessarily the disaster. It's the preservation. You've got pests, you've got the environment, so like humidity, temperature, sunlight, all these things affect the preservation of collectibles," said special collections librarian Kyle Ainsworth.

An expert from the Northeast Document Conservation Center says sustainable environment is now a popular area of study.

"The biggest single thing you can do is give them a stable environment," said preservation expert Donia Conn.

Millions of dollars are spent on environmentally controlled vaults, but simple, less expensive measures work too.

"Where ever you are comfortable, you're collection will be comfortable, so if you've got a spare closet or even a shelf in a closet," said Conn.

So keep those shoe boxes of photos and letters out of the attic where heat can lead to brittle results.

More best practices for display, storage and care of family collections will be shared at the Durst-Taylor Historic House tomorrow and Wednesday.

Public libraries became the go to place for FEMA during category one disasters.

"We learned a lot about that and learned how we as a cultural heritage community can work with FEMA and the first responders so that we do get more attention post disaster," said Conn.

It's all about saving for the future.

And here's your opportunity to learn the best practices for protecting family documents and valuables.

Public programs are being held at the Durst-Taylor Historic House and gardens.

That's at 304 North street in Nacogdoches.

It's free and runs from 6 to 8 p.m.

You're asked to bring an item or two from your collection for examination and discussion.

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