The Preservation Tree

2022 Preservation Tree

Tennessee Tech Archives participates annually in the Christmas Forest exhibit at the Cookeville History Museum.  The archive creates a tree that represents work that was performed in the archive that year and they combine the work with a little bit of creativity.  This year, the Christmas tree depicts ornaments that represent a small part of the preservation process that archivists perform during archival “processing.” Processing is a general word to describe how archivists make materials available to users and involves a set of tasks including arranging, describing, rehousing, and performing preservation on archival materials. Preservation, unlike conservation, involves removing harmful materials, such as metal fasteners, or rehousing archival materials into new housing, such as acid-free folders and boxes, to prevent further deterioration of the materials. Preservation is minimally invasive and does not involve altering the physical materials; whereas conservation may involve physically altering/changing materials.

The ornaments on the tree are all made with binder clips and paper clips removed by archive intern Julia Peacock while processing the papers of the famed American tuba player and professor, R. Winston Morris. Archives also removes staples during preservation work, which can be grueling. These tedious tasks remove the potential for rust to form from the metal on the unique materials and preserves the materials for the future with less risk of deterioration. All DIY ornaments on the tree are made by employees in the library and archive interns.

These are examples/images of the ornaments created with the paperclips and binder clips in the collection and they include the supplies needed for the ornaments if you want to make them at home!

Two large paperclips, string, six small popsicle sticks, wire cutters to cut popsicle sticks, and a glue gun.
Twelve white, large-hole beads, eight blue, large-hole beads, blue thread, one wooden large-hole bead, gold thread, a large paperclip, natural twine, and blue thread for the robe.
Two colors of felt-any color, one-inch snowflake sequin, embroidery thread, a paperclip, pliers to bend the paperclip, and a sewing needle.
One large paperclip, a red ribbon, a large-holed yellow star bead, seventeen large-hole green beads, and pliers to bend the paperclip.
Two pieces of felt-any color, with thread to match, two small pom poms, embroidery thread, and one large paperclip.
Ten binder clips, these instructions, and an infinite amount of patience.

About University Archives

Archives and Special Collections resides in Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library on the first floor. The collection includes materials of legal, fiscal and historical significance to Tennessee Tech University and documents the history of the Upper Cumberland Region. The collection includes over 2,500 cubic feet of manuscripts, photographs, and archives from Tennessee Tech as well as surrounding people, businesses, and organizations of the Upper Cumberland. The collection contains books on the history and culture of the Upper Cumberland Region of Tennessee.
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