by Naomi House
Happy International Archives Day to the Heroes of Cultural Preservation!
All of us at T160K want to wish a Happy International Archives Day to the heroes of cultural preservation; the archivists, technicians and others in related fields like libraries who do the hard work so that our human heritage is preserved!
This image is one of millions that will be made of the 400,000+ rescued Timbuktu manuscripts. You may have heard the story of how some savvy librarians rescued the treasure of Timbuktu (these manuscripts), but you may not realize that without archival boxes and trained archives professionals these manuscripts would have escaped the flames of militants only to mold and be destroyed by the humid air of the capital of Mali, Bamako, where they were rescued to. Well, it is true!
Out of the fire into the mold?!? Eek!
But the librarians and archivists who did the daring rescue also worked hard to crowdfund and 1,200+ international funders, just like you, gave to preserve these priceless tomes. We applaud YOU and feel incredibly blessed to continue their work! Dr. Abdel Kader Haidara and the Mamma Haidara Library are now crowdfunding their amazing cataloging project of these 400,000+ manuscripts and seek your contributions.
But that is not the only archival project T160K is partnering on in Africa. In Benin, we are working to help found a revolutionary center for preservation of Africa’s photographic record. These collections will be historic ones taken by local photographers across Africa, which has a rich local heritage of photography dating back to the late 1800s!
Photographic negatives have a limited lifespan and many of the photographs from this era will disintegrate in the next few years and be lost forever if they aren’t preserved. That’s why the School of African Heritage is undertaking an ambitious project—to establish a major center for photographic preservation, archiving, and digitization on the African continent. As part of this project, the school will acquire endangered photographic collections, preserve them from further damage, and digitize them into a public archive. The center will also provide invaluable training and employment for a new generation of archivists and photo preservationists, providing a significant contribution to the local economy. Anyone can contribute and help build this amazing new center!
Happy International Archives Day to the heroes of cultural preservation! We all owe you a debt of gratitude and our thanks!
Photos used with permission of Resolution Photo and Caroline Lacey (School of African Heritage photos) and Stephanie Diakite and the Mamma Haidara Library (the Timbuktu Library photos)
This collage made with Fotor.