The Delaware Public Archives contains thousands of historical and contemporary records and documents from the state of Delaware and its local governments.
Part of Delaware Public Archives’ mission is to identify, collect and preserve these records.
Manager of Outreach and Public Services Thomas Summers has held different positions at the Archives, where he has worked for 27 years.
One of his several current jobs is the preservation process: maintaining documents that enter the research room.
Summers looks at these documents as effective tools that can help teach students about Delaware’s past cultural life.
“In order to tell the full story of Delaware’s unique history, it’s necessary to preserve the papers and images that document Delaware’s past and the events which shape the state in which we live,” he said.
There are many necessary materials needed for this process.
“In preserving materials for archival storage, the Delaware Public Archives utilizes acid-free folders, papers, and boxes, humidification chambers, cleaning sponges, environmentally controlled vaults, and special gloves for handling photographs,” he said.
Director of the Delaware Public Archives and Delaware State Archivist, Stephan Marz, agreed that preserving the 95,000 cubic feet of records are important. “Preservation of materials allows for the protection and safekeeping of historical documents for research and fact finding,” he said.
Marz has been state archivist for 10 years. He has a Masters in History with a skill specialization in Archival Management.
The preservation process protects the materials and its information by minimizing chemical and physical deterioration and damage.
There are many ways the Archives preserve their documents, he said.
“Light dusting and/or cleaning, photocopying, digitization, and other approaches may include environmental control and using acid free containers/folders,” he said.