"May Day" celebrations have been around a very long time. Among the more noteworthy are Beltane, maypoles celebrating Spring, Law Day, international organized Labor Day, and Protest Day. In the days of the former Soviet Union, May Day was a day to demonstrate military might.
But for those of us in the cultural heritage community, May 1st is a day set aside to prepare for the unexpected. Sponsored by Heritage Preservation (with a Facebook page) and other members of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, MayDay is an annual campaign to promote emergency preparedness in cultural institutions. The goal is to "Do Just One Thing for Emergency Preparedness."
May 1st is a very good day for you to start thinking about what you are going to do come June 1st -- and the start of the 2010 hurricane season. Please take one simple step to make yourself more prepared to protect yourself, your family, your home and your possessions.
Learn about the County's emergency preparedness plans.
Determine your evacuation route.
Preservation of human life is always more important than protecting one's things. But by giving some forethought to what to do in the event of the unexpected, you will be in a better position to protect your things as well.
My one thing for MayDay2010 is to offer you, the readers of Connections, access to online information on how to preserve family treasures.
A good place to start protecting your family treasures is to review the online brochures called "Preparing, Protecting, Preserving Family Treasures" on the Library of Congress website. The very neat thing about the website is the imbedded video demonstrations of how to perform proper techniques such as washing audio visual materials, air drying photographs, etc. Above all, you do not want to make a bad situation worse and inadvertently do the wrong thing and cause further damage to your treasures.
A few years ago, the Historical Resources Consortium won a "Connecting to Collections Bookshelf" grant which is housed in the BDC. Visit us to gain access to current best practices of materials preservation.
You may also want to read the 14 blog entries classified under "preservation techniques" to get you started on preserving your family heirlooms. If you only read one, make it "Take Home Preservation Principles" by former Preservation Associate, Amber Shorthouse.