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Documenting Historical Events for Posterity

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Documenting Historical Events for Posterity

Documenting historical events is a great way to keep track of everything that has happened in your lifetime. Whether you grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and want to document how the city has grown or you're more interested in using news clippings to trace your family roots, you have plenty of options when it comes to documenting historical events for posterity. Follow these tips to create a journal or scrapbook that you'll be proud to share with your loved ones and assisted living community neighbors.

Getting Started

Before you start documenting historical events, you'll need a few supplies. If you plan to journal as part of your documentation efforts, purchase a sturdy journal made from high-quality paper. Although a plain notebook will work in a pinch, the thin pages won't hold up well to daily use, and there's a good chance ink will bleed through, making it difficult to read what you write. No-bleed pens are also something to consider.

If you've decided to collect news items and keep them in a scrapbook, you'll need a few basic scrapbooking supplies:

  • Cardstock in solid colors or colorful patterns
  • High-quality pens that won't bleed through the pages
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive
  • A binder or album to store your scrapbook pages
  • Embellishments (stickers, foil accents, tags, ribbon, die-cut frames)
  • A storage case for sorting news clippings

Collecting and Storing News Items

There's never been a better time to document historical events for posterity; not only do you have access to a variety of print publications, but you can also use the internet to access news archives from around the world. Before you start clipping newspaper articles, be clear about the purpose of your project.

  • Are you documenting your family's history? If so, concentrate on finding obituaries, birth announcements, marriage announcements, graduation announcements and other news items that mention family members by name.
  • If your goal is to document local history, stick with newspapers and magazines published in and around Omaha, Nebraska. The Omaha World-Herald is one of the most popular newspapers in the region, but don't forget about smaller publications. Community newspapers typically devote more space to local events.
  • National and international publications are good sources if you plan to document major historical events that receive global coverage. Start with The New York Times, the Miami Herald, the Chicago Sun-Times and other major publications.

Staying Organized

Once you start clipping articles from newspapers or printing news items from online publications, it's important to keep them organized. If you have room in your assisted living apartment, set aside a file folder for each topic or type of news item. You could have folders labeled "Birth Announcements," "Marriage Announcements" and "Obituaries." If you're documenting local or national news, try organizing your clippings by date.

Storage Tips

It's also important to store news clippings properly, especially if you plan to clip articles from newspapers. Most publishers print their newspapers on low-quality paper that doesn't hold up to harsh storage conditions. You'll want to store your news clippings in a cool, dry place that doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight. Avoid storing newspaper clippings with photos and other documents to prevent the ink from transferring. If you print articles from online publications, put each article in a plastic sheet protector and store the entire set of clippings in a sturdy binder.

Journaling Tips

If you'd rather keep a journal instead of collecting news items written by other people, try to write a few words each day. You don't have to write hundreds of words at a time; just 20 or 30 words about an interesting event is all you need to document the event for posterity. Follow these tips to make journaling an enjoyable part of your routine:

  • Take your journal with you when you leave your assisted living apartment. If something interesting happens, you can write about it right away instead of trying to remember the details later.
  • Be as detailed as possible when writing a journal entry. Include full names, dates and other details to ensure you don't have to rely on your memory months or years down the road.
  • Try to write a journal entry at the same time each day. If you establish a journaling routine, you'll be less likely to forget to write things down as they happen. Some people prefer to journal as soon as they wake up, while others wait until bedtime; pick a time that works best with your schedule.
  • Don't feel pressured to fill your journal with perfect prose. If the words aren't flowing, use bullet points to record what happened that day.

Sharing With Others

 If you want to share your completed scrapbook with your friends and family members, make it a special occasion. Book the private dining room at Hickory Villa, invite your loved ones and bask in the excitement of sharing your finished project. Just be sure to have everyone wash their hands before handling scrapbook pages or loose news clippings. Lotions, body sprays and other products may contain oils that can damage paper or leave unsightly smudges.

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