In the past 20 years, historical preservation and archiving have made the jump into an American cultural hobby. From official historic landmarks to preservation programs offered by graduate schools, we’ve come to realize how important it is to save our history. The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute are the leading organizations in the efforts to save our history. Here are three things you may not have known about their archiving efforts.
1. The Library of Congress didn’t start their own Preservation Office until 1967, where they would experiment in restoring old books. Now they preserve everything from music sheets to baseball cards to one thousand-year-old books.
2. A Library of Congress Employee lays out all of the types of artifacts that the institution cares for. Photo courtesy Library of CongressThe Smithsonian only displays less than 2 percent of its entire collection. They have amassed so many historical objects in their search to archive the world that they ran out of room.
3. The Library of Congress is currently on a mission to archive every tweet ever created. Yes, including Kanye West’s gem:”Sometimes I get emotional over fonts”.
And don’t think that preserving historical documents are just for the big museums! Ordinary people are starting to get into it by saving their family members’ old diaries, photos, and letters. Everything is important in history; you don’t have to be Abraham Lincoln. Historians are constantly trying to analyze and understand eras through the eyes of those who weren’t in the spotlight in order to see what life was really like. In my opinion, these little interactions and tidbits about people’s lives are the most fascinating things about history. If you’re thinking of keeping or donating your family’s treasures, the Library of Congress has an entire website dedicated to teaching others how to preserve everything from film to books.
Tell us what part of history you would want to preserve at email@example.com or find us on twitter @sparkysquill.