Rabun Gap Archives celebrates Preservation Week

Rabun Gap Archives is encouraging the Rabun Gap community to take steps to preserve history during Preservation Week, the last week of April.
David Grist ‘67 runs Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School’s Archives. The School has an impressive history that spans over 115 years and the Archives is instrumental in recording, organizing, and preserving that history. Grist and his team spend hours each week going through old documents, pictures, and artifacts while also taking the time to preserve current School history for generations to come.

Preservation Week is near and dear to Grist’s heart. It is an initiative led by the American Library Association to encourage individuals and institutions to look at ways to preserve their history. With the digital revolution, most people and organizations have potentially historical information housed in old technology. For children growing up in the 21st Century, many of their pictures and other information can only be found digitally, saved on various computers or “clouds.” Other older materials may be very fragile and need special care. 

Grist hopes that the community at Rabun Gap will take some time this week to think about their historical materials and what steps they can take to record and preserve them. Here are  some ideas of what you can be recording and preserving for yourself and others in the future:

  • The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented event that has had and will continue to have a huge impact on the world and is sure to be a significant point in history as the years progress. Grist encourages the community to keep a “Pandemic Diary” and to ask themselves the following question: How do you plan to save this resource for future generations? Depending on whether you are recording it on actual paper, over your phone, or online, how will you take steps to preserve it and have a backup of your records?

  • This is a great time to take a step back to think about your life at Rabun Gap. What year did you come and how many years have you been a part of the School? What led you to attend Rabun Gap? What are your favorite memories, who were your favorite teachers, did you receive any significant awards or make any great achievements? Take the time to thoughtfully record and save these thoughts.

  • No doubt that your phone holds hundreds of photos from your time at Rabun Gap. Grist challenges the community to label, date and organize them. Pick out the ones that you want to keep for your family and/or future generations. Decide on how you want to preserve them. You can print them or save them digitally (in more than one location). If you choose “cloud” storage, consider what might happen to that data in the future - as these sites change ownership, questions over who actually owns the data may arise. The most important data and pictures should be housed on an external harddrive.

  • Ask yourself how the data and photos you have might contribute to the Rabun Gap Archives. COVID-19 will become a part of our School history and we want to record your stories. If you have memories or pictures that can contribute to our records, please send them to Grist at dgrist@rabungap.org.
The American Library Association has a dedicated Preservation Week website and Facebook page that provide numerous resources to aid in the preservation of personal and organizational history, including a feature called “Ask Donia” where you can find answers to your preservation questions. Another great resource is the Story Corps website, which has a mobile app that can provide a way to record interviews with people. 
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.