Preservation Week Day 1: Preserving Stories

This is the first post in a week-long series celebrating National Preservation Week.  NMAM blog posts in this series will discuss how to preserve your own modeling history. 

Preserving your stories is the single most important thing you can do to preserve your photographs, model airplanes and the other objects that are vital to you.  It is through the stories that you have about the objects that you convey its meaning.  Once this context is known by others, it helps them realize how important the objects are and makes them more likely to want to care for them.

Bill Winter, Joe Kovel, John Zaic and Hurst Bowers share stories with each other during a 1980s visit to the museum.  Read Hurst's account of the visit in Model Aviation, March 1986.
Bill Winter, Joe Kovel, John Zaic and Hurst Bowers share stories with each other during a 1980s visit to the museum. Read Hurst’s account of the visit in Model Aviation, March 1986.

So how do you preserve stories?  The simplest thing to do is to tell someone.  Share your memories during the next family dinner.  Use them as bedtime stories for your grandkids.  Just share.

If you want your stories to be a bit more permanent than memory, write them down or record yourself telling them (with either audio or with video), or partner with someone and do an oral history (which can also be recorded).  

 

Writing memories down can be as simple as writing on the back of a photograph (using pencil is recommended).  “This one (McCoy 49) was fastest of all, but no good for contest as it was not smooth on controls. Best timed speed 134MPH.  8/9  [or] 8/10 Grish or Rev. up [prop]  Thanks for Looking
Text on the back of a photograph, reading, “This one (McCoy 49) was fastest of all, but no good for contest as it was not smooth on controls. Best timed speed 134MPH. 8/9 [or] 8/10 Grish or Rev. up [prop] Thanks for Looking
Around yrs of 1948-52 on this”
A black and white photograph of a Control Line model with an installed McCoy 49 engine.
Here’s the front of that photograph, for those who are curious. Source: National Model Aviation Museum Collection, donated James D. Walter, 1985.23.01. Photograph provided by the donor.

Once that’s done, the focus shifts to preserving the media that story is on.  The American Library Association has some good tips for preserving different types of media.   You can also tune into the American Library Association’s webinar on digital archiving on Wednesday, April 24, 2013

For a great introductory source on how to do your own Oral History, check out the Minnesota Historical Society’s advice.

Logo of the AMA's History Program.The National Model Aviation Museum is preserving stories through the AMA’s History Program.  The History Program asks modelers to tell the story of their – or a friend’s – modeling career.  Each individual’s story tells that person’s history.  Together they all tell the history of model aviation.  You are encouraged to contribute your story to the History Program.  This guide gives advice on how

If you want more advice on preserving your stories, feel free to ask your questions to the museum’s blog, Facebook page or by emailing staff directly at mariav@modelaircraft.org

Preservation Week - pass it onSponsored by the ALA’s Association for Library Collections and Technical Services and partner organizations, Preservation Week will inspire actions to preserve personal, family and community collections of all kinds, as well as library, museum and archive collections. It will raise awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions can play in providing ongoing preservation information.  More information can be found at:  www.ala.org/preservationweek.

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