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9/1/2007
“Out of sight, out of mind” shouldn't apply to your memories. You can care for and enjoy your family keepsakes — three archivists tell you how.

You can't have it all, they say. You can't afford to buy that vacation home and spend two weeks there every summer; you can't surf RootsWeb <rootsweb.com> until 3 a.m. and spring out of bed like a lark at sunrise. You can't properly preserve the stacks of family papers, mounds of old photographs and heaps of Great-grandma's quilts and still enjoy them. At least not according to the bombardment of heirloom-safeguarding advice available on the Internet and in magazines and books.

We think differently. The whole point of preserving heirlooms is so you and your descendants can use them to connect with family history. To help you cut through the information overload and determine the best preservation practices, we tapped three experts: Sally J. Jacobs, owner of Jacobs Archival Services and blogger at the Practical Archivist <practicalarchivist.blogspot.com>; Ed Earle, curator at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City <www.icp.org>; and Mary M. Fahey, head of preservation at the Henry Ford Museum <www.hfmgv.org> in Dearborn, Mich. They'll share the most important tips and products for common types of heirlooms so you can start preserving - and enjoying - your precious memories today.

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