The event will be held at the Old North Church Parish House, 193 Salem Street, First Floor, North End, Boston. It is free and open to the public, but reservations are required because space is limited. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-680-3829 to RSVP.
The North End Historical Society will host a presentation of “The Unofficial Archivist” on Tuesday, February 28. Archivist and Cultural Heritage Consultant Melissa Mannon will discuss the beginning steps for creating a family archive with a focus on personal narrative and the preservation of personal papers.
According to Mannon, “Many irreplaceable materials that help tell individual stories, and the stories of our neighborhoods, are deteriorating among our personal belongings. I want to help people ensure that their records of enduring value last for a long time, but I also want to help them to realize that their family stories have significance to a larger cultural heritage.” After years of working with cultural heritage repositories, Melissa Mannon wrote The Unofficial Family Archivist: A Guide for Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs and Memorabilia to help individuals with their own family papers.
“This book is written for people who want to protect personal papers that help document diverse points of view and shed light on personal and community stories. It helps people thoughtfully create and maintain recorded information that describes their lives, helps mold their legacy, and sheds light on a larger cultural heritage,” according to Mannon.
Many people have a desire to care for their family collections, but do not know where to begin. She offers tips for thinking about materials, whether you just want to get started or if you want a comprehensive plan for creating a family archive. Her book gives information about documenting family history, identifying archives, organizing and preserving records, creating tools to find materials, recording a sense of place, caring for electronic records and working to record previously unrecorded family history. The final chapter discusses planning for the future of personal papers.
Mannon says, “Whether we want to pass on our memories to loved ones or to some place like a local historical society, thinking about the documents we are creating and then leaving behind is a valuable thing to do. We can each have some control over the history that is remembered when we maintain and make plans for our own documentation.”