Daily Archives: March 13, 2015


Kirby and Mr. Bernd - photo from the Music Department Archives*

Music librarian Kirby with bust of Library donor Julius Bernd*

I started actively taking photos in the 1980s. I attended many classes at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, worked in a photo lab, and began a freelance business shooting anything from weddings, head shots for actors, and slides of artwork. The digital revolution came right as my oldest child was born.

I own boxes and boxes of negatives, including one from my mother, large format negatives from my beautiful Konica, and slides of my own artwork. My collection includes VHS tapes of performances I participated in over the years, Super-8 movies, digital video tapes, and over 100 short web-cam videos of my children as babies that I haven’t been able to view in years. On top of everything else, I saved thousands of photos from my old PC to an external hard drive, which is not compatible with my new MacBook.

I want to preserve it all! I want to see this stuff again! This is my life! HELP!

Luckily help is at hand.

Preservation Fair: Preserve Your Family Treasures

The Preservation Fair is a one-day public event where you can learn how to properly store and maintain your precious family keepsakes and treasures. Over 30 professional conservators, archivists, and librarians will be on hand to discuss your individual interests. Free demonstrations and lectures will be presented throughout the event.

Bring a family treasure for free basic conservation advice. One hand-carried item per visitor. No dollies or carts. No appraisals or valuations will be given.

The focus of the speakers at this event will be learning what can be done to preserve your paper and digital photos. Just what I need!!

The speakers:

Dr. Alison Langmead, Asst. Professor at the University of Pittsburgh will discuss the rationale for digital preservation and offer approaches to care for your family’s treasured digital documents.

Jim Burke, Adjunct Asst. Professor of Photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers will talk about ways to preserve photographic images from all eras and about his work digitally restoring old and damaged photographs.

Exhibitors include conservators specializing in books, documents, paintings, textiles, houses, photographs and films. Historical Societies, Genealogical Societies, and vendors dealing in conservation and preservation supplies will also be represented.

Check this link to see a full list of exhibitors, speakers, and what to expect at the fair: Preservation Fair – Preserving Family Treasures

You can also check the Facebook page: Preservation Fair – Facebook Page

The Preservation Fair is the ongoing legacy of my favorite library school professor and graduate advisor, Bernadette Callery, who passed away in 2012. I was a student volunteer of hers at the 2009 Preservation Fair. The breadth of the expertise at the fair was quite impressive, as I am sure it will be at this year’s event.

Can’t make it?  Don’t worry!  Your librarians have created a few useful online guides to pertinent subjects:

Antiques & Collectibles – Identify and price your antiques with these print and online resources.  This will point you to specific guides like Antique Furniture and Saving Your Family Treasures.

Art Research Databases – Helpful tips for locating resources in print and online, and for learning about art.

Researching Your Art – Evaluation and Appraisal – Where did this come from? Who is this artist? Are they famous? and of course, how much is it worth?!?

Historic Preservation – Resources and organizations for preserving historic homes, buildings, etc.

Historical Societies & Commissions – Join a local group to learn about local history.

Biography & Genealogy – Genealogy resources.

Audio-Visual Resources in Pittsburgh – Vendors that convert film, video, photographs, and analog audio to digital (along with other guides).


P. S. I still print out my favorite digital photos just in case. Old habits die hard.

Changing the Bulbs - photo from the Music Department Archives*

Changing the light bulbs in the Music Department*

*Photos taken by Joelle


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