Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Sep 08

National Preparedness Month

Posted on September 8, 2017 at 5:30 PM by Jessica Cromer

September is National Preparedness Month!

This is a good opportunity to talk about disaster preparedness in terms of what we do here, and what you can do to prepare at home with your family history collections.

Being prepared for a disaster includes having plans and procedures. These are made in advance of emergencies because if people panic they can easily forget even the simplest of things. Much like having a map of a fire escape on the wall and an evacuation meeting place, disaster plans are thought out and written down. The procedure is the fire drill that puts into practice the steps that should be taken to act. Natural disaster plans and procedures should be a part of every workplace and school, but it is also a good idea for families to have them at home too – especially for young children. Drills train the body to act when the mind might not remember what to do.

Em Exit Plan 1 Em Exit Plan 2
Evacuation plans in different areas of the work place

Archives are fiduciaries to the public – they are trusted with taking care of our shared history and heritage. As such, emergency preparedness is vitally important, from environmental controls to natural disasters. Fire and flood are two of the most extreme cases, and depending on where you live and work, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and human war. On the other hand, being prepared also includes preventing long-term cumulative hazards. For archival collections, these are such things as extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations and light exposure.

Em Temp-RH 1 Em Temp-RH 2
Monitoring temperature and relative humidity

Whether in archives or at home, some things to keep in mind are:

Have designated emergency supplies on hand – stored together and not locked away.
Em Manual-Supplies

                Have smoke detectors and keep fire extinguishers readily accessible.
                               Em Extinguisher 1      Em Extinguisher 2

Keep materials, boxes, and bottom shelves off the floor in the event of rising water.
Em Raised Bottom Shelf 1  Em Raised Bottom Shelf 2

Do not store vulnerable materials underneath water pipes that run across the ceiling.
If you have sprinkler systems, be aware of the danger of water damage to materials.
(In archives, sprinkler systems are often special chemicals rather than water.)
Em Sprinkler 1

Try to keep a stable environment of temperature and humidity.
In general, keep materials out of the light as much as possible.

Emergency preparedness manuals are kept in multiple areas of archives and with employees at home. These include important contacts, phone numbers, inventories, step-by-step instructions for various situations, and clean-up supplies, among other things.
Em Manual 1 Em Manual 2

If you find yourself needing to take emergency action with your personal treasures, first make sure you are not in harm’s way. Hopefully you now have created an emergency manual. Depending on what is in your collections, you have gathered information on how to salvage your items if they are wet, moldy, brittle, pest ridden, etc. If you can, take photos. Even better if you already have an inventory. Your manual has emergency phone numbers like police, fire, neighbors/coworkers, insurance companies, salvage/cleaning companies, and additional resources tailored to your potential needs.

The National Preparedness Month website provides resources for you and your family, some of which can also apply to your family treasures.
Weekly themes are:
Week 1: September 1-9 Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends
Week 2: September 10-16 Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community
Week 3: September 17-23 Practice and Build Out Your Plans
Week 4: September 24-30 Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger

Social media hashtags are #NatlPrep & #PlanAhead

Until Next Time!


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