Those of us who’ve reached a certain age and gone through de-cluttering know how hard it is. Some of the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years is objectively valuable — which isn’t the same as saying that family and friends want it handed down. Some is sentimentally valuable — ditto on whether anyone wants it. Some is intrinsically meaningful, and just not something that should be put in the donations bin, although it’s hard to know what to do with it — like the flag that was on Jerry’s coffin, still folded as it was the day I took it home from the cemetery.
Now take that drama of what to do with a lifetime of acquisitions and write it large, as in the historical record of a city. I retain an interest in my former hometown of Rochester NY, and get an online publication called The Beacon. The Beacon has an article about the Rochester Historical Society, which can no longer afford to maintain its extensive collection and is struggling over what to do. However many things you might be juggling, the Rochester Historical Society has 200,000 — some of which require climate controlled storage.
Back in the heyday of Eastman Kodak, Xerox, French’s Mustard, The May Company, Bausch & Lomb, Rochester was a wealthy city and someone might have stepped up to finance the collection. But that’s not going to happen now, nor are the city or state likely to weigh in.
Getting rid of my own stuff was hard enough, and I’m glad this isn’t my problem.