Collections 102, part 4: how do I store… books and photos

If you’ve been following this series, by now you have a working knowledge of preservation materials and storage options for your family treasures. Last week, the blog touched on textiles. This week’s post takes a closer look at how to care for family books and photos (scrapbooks and albums, too).

Quick version:

  • Books are best stored upright (vertically) on shelves
  • Books and photos should have minimal light exposure to avoid fading
  • Avoid writing on the back of photos
  • Keep food and drinks away while handling items

Continue reading


Artifact Spotlight: Supreme Court Justice


Congress still hasn’t confirmed a new Supreme Court justice to fill Antonin Scalia’s vacancy. It’s a shame Charles Evans Hughes isn’t still around to help sort this mess out.


AP photo from the museum’s collection. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, 1934.

When Charles Evans Hughes joined the Supreme Court in 1910, he had already been a successful lawyer and New York governor. He resigned from the bench to run for president on the Republican ticket in 1916 against Woodrow Wilson. Hughes nearly won, too. A narrow margin of just 4000 votes would have given him California’s electoral votes and the presidency. It was his reputation as a no nonsense, incorruptible man that perhaps gave him an incorrect public image of austerity and aloofness.

Undeterred, he went on to be the secretary of state for Presidents Harding and Coolidge, and a World Court judge. He was confirmed as the Supreme Court Chief Justice by the United States Senate on February 13, 1930. He replaced former President William Howard Taft who oddly appointed Hughes to his first tenure on the Supreme Court (side note: Taft remains the only person to have held both offices of President and Chief Justice).

In his tenure as Chief Justice, Hughes had the distinction of swearing in President Franklin D Roosevelt for all three of his terms in 1933, 1937 and 1941. Other career highlights included assisting the court’s transition from property rights to individual rights and for striking down Roosevelt’s attempt to “pack the court” in 1937. He is remembered as one of the finest justices to sit on the bench.

This image is part of the museum’s permanent collection. Come see this photo and many others in the Archives.

What are you doing new year’s eve: artifact spotlight #10

Champagne? Check. Party hat and sparkly dress? Check. Stranger to kiss at midnight? Check. Bring on 1935! Er, I mean 2013! This coming new year will certainly look a lot different than it did 78 years ago, but one element remains the same: movie stars still know how to party. It’s nice to know that some things never change. Featured in the image below were Frances Drake (far left), Dick Powell, Mary Brian, and Bill Gargan (far right) attending a new year’s eve bash with other Hollywood elite.

2010.67.033Indeed, Hollywood had a lot to celebrate. 1935 was a very successful year for film making. Faced with growing global political instability and the economic hardship of the Great Depression, movie-goers continued to flock to escapist, swashbuckling adventure films and monster flicks. That year, Errol Flynn made his first starring role as Captain Blood.  Instant film classics like Duck Soup, Mutiny on the Bounty, Scrooge, and Top Hat also debuted. For the actors in the image, 1935 was also a busy year. Frances Drake starred Les Misérables as Eponine, a role that defined her career. Dick Powell appeared in a staggering five films including, Broadway Gondolier with William Gargan and A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. Mary Brian also appeared in two films.

This AP image has been in the permanent collection of the museum archives for the past eight years but this is the first time it has been featured. To see this or other photos, drop in at the museum any time. We’re always happy to show off the collection.